With a background in business and agriculture, Richard Barkwill believes he can help the community grow by earning a seat on council.
The Summerland resident, who is a Certified General Accountant with Canada Revenue Agency and lives on a small farm with his Olympic Equestrian wife Therese Washtock, announced his intention to run earlier this week.
“I am very concerned about the state of the town’s finances, but I also believe people are willing to pay taxes if they feel they are getting value for their money. Part of council’s job is to be on top of municipal expenses and that is an area where I have expertise and experience,” said Barkwill.
The candidate, who holds a degree in agriculture and masters of business administration from the University of British Columbia, said Summerland’s opportunities for economic growth are tied to maintaining the town’s quality of life, which is what draws new people to the community.
“Developing our town as the best place in B.C. to retire is a win-win for all the people in Summerland, both those that need jobs and those who are currently retired,” said Barkwill.
Developing programs and services for seniors is one way, he said, Summerland can enhance the quality of life for that segment of the population and attract more retirees to provide jobs in a growth industry at all skill levels. The proposal to take 80 hectares of prime farmland out of the Agricultural Land Reserve in Summerland in exchange for putting municipally owned land in the ALR is a growth issue Barkwill believes can be solved differently. He said there are many options that have not been properly considered.
Barkwill said Summerland has an “amazing arts community” that could stimulate economic growth if properly supported.