Candidates square off in regional races

Michael Brydon acclaimed as director for Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen Electoral Area F

Michael Brydon ran for regional district director because of his distaste for acclamation, ironically it is exactly how he remains there.

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen Electoral Area F, Okanagan Lake West/West Bench, incumbent Brydon was the lone candidate to submit election papers. He said with so much groundwork laid with the provincial government during his last term he understands why no one challenged.

“We had a lot of unfinished business with water systems on the West Bench and in Faulder. We are literally right in the middle of this right now and it was something I wanted to do and something I should do in terms of landing these planes, as RDOS staff always says,” said Brydon. “There is a pretty steep learning curve and I certainly agree with it now. It is almost like a three-year apprenticeship for your first term. I sense that the voters here have invested in me and now it’s time for that to pay off and get some of these projects done and draw on these relationships and experience that I am just getting in place now at the end of three years.”

The director said had he been challenged, his platform would have been similar to the one he ran on in 2008, which is getting the water projects in Faulder and West Bench completed.

“We have had curve ball after curve ball with those systems. We are still waiting to see if a prison is going to go in the neighbourhood, and in a sense we are lucky we haven’t made a whole bunch of commitments and we are ready to go now when the province gets its stuff sorted out. With the HST and prison, everything has been in limbo so long we don’t dare make a move until the province decides which way it is going. With a small system like Faulder you can’t afford to make a mistake, the longer you can put off those decisions without endangering any grants or anyone’s health and huge of amounts of money the better.”

Brydon said there had been mention of another referendum for West Bench residents to decide on their water system fate, but that also has been put on the back-burner.

“Ultimately we are going to have to put a choice up in front of voters and there will be a referendum. We were hoping to get it done now, but it died during the summer. Even now talking with Penticton councillors they are in election mode and the water issue is something that we are talking about that is going to occur down the road,” said Brydon.

Area E director Tom Chapman announced he would not be seeking re-election leaving his seat up for grabs. Karla Kozakevich, who served as the area’s alternate director, and June Stewart have both filed their nomination papers for the upcoming election.

Incumbent director for Area C (Oliver rural) Allan Patton has one challenger in Joel Malcolm. The same goes for incumbent director for Area A (Osoyoos rural) Mark Pendergraft, who is being challenged by Joe Simoes.

In Electoral Area D (Kaleden/Okanagan Falls), three candidates are vying for the seat left by longtime director Bill Schwarz. Janice Johnson, Tom Siddon and Alan Whitman have all declared candidacy. An all-candidates forum will be held on Nov. 1 from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Kaleden Hall.

Area H (Princeton rural) incumbent Brad Hope is being challenged by Charles Weber. A three-person race will take place in Area G (Keremeos rural/Hedley) with incumbent Elef Christensen facing challengers Flo Winfrey and Angelique Wood.

Area B (Cawston) also has three candidates in George Bush, Colleen Christensen and Lee McFadyen. An all-candidates meeting will be held at the Cawston Community Hall Society on Nov. 9. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the forum running from 7 to 9 p.m.

An insufficient number of candidates have filed nomination papers in order to hold an election in Olalla, and the RDOS board will appoint people from the water commission area.