Penticton byelections hat filling up

New faces, familiar faces with passion for Penticton

Penticton byelections hat filling up

Brian Hennigson bought a home in Penticton a couple of years ago, intending to have it for a summer retreat, but said he ended up liking the city so much he decided to move here permanently.

“But it’s a little hard to find work here,” said Henningson, who works in the Alberta oil industry.

Now, he said, he wants to run for mayor, and wants to bring a common sense approach to council.

He used the possible changes to traffic flow on Main Street as an example, questioning why the city would even consider changing a system that is working.

“Everybody is always looking for a new way to do things,” he said, describing himself as a no nonsense, frugal person.

“I’ve always voiced my opinion on a lot of things,” said Henningson, explaining that he was encouraged by friends to enter the race for mayor.

Garry Litke was one of the first to announce he would be running for mayor in the Sept. 7 byelection, but he turned out to be one of the late entries, filing his official nomination papers with just two days before closing.

“They thought I was playing an April Fool’s joke on them at City Hall,” said Litke, a former Penticton city councillor.

“I took some time off and came back from my championship on the weekend.

“I was busy ordering my signs and today I filed my papers, so it’s all good.”

Litke has won three elections to city council, but resigned last month to free him to run for the mayor’s seat, vacated by now MLA Dan Ashton.

He says he wants to make sure the city retains its direction of key priorities and ongoing projects, like downtown and waterfront revitalization projects, and maintaining the fiscal responsibility council has shown in the last three years.

“There are so

many good things happening in Penticton, that I feel good to be part of and some of them are unfinished,” said Litke.

“I am thinking that with some effective leadership, we can follow through on a number of really good initiatives that will make Penticton an even better place to live.”

Litke won his council seat in the last election with the most votes overall, and said those results figured into his decision to run for mayor.

“That’s a good signal. It gives me some confidence, that’s for sure,” said Litke.

As acting mayor while Ashton was on his leave of absence, Litke said he’s been working to make council more open.

“The very first thing I did was make some of our advisory committee meetings transparent and open so they wouldn’t be held in camera.

“Wherever possible, I subscribe to the open meetings and less of the in camera stuff,” he said.

However, he isn’t sure a return to a committee of the whole structure is desirable.

“Both systems work. There is nothing wrong with the way we are operating at the moment so if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.“

Pat Buchanan’s name will be familiar to many in Penticton through his involvement in youth sports and other organizations, but he is new to the political scene, taking his first run at the vacant council seat.

Buchanan said his decision to run is all about community service.

“I’ve volunteered a lot in the city. I love the city and I feel it is the next step for my service,” said Buchanan.

Besides his commitment to youth and sports programs in the community, Buchanan was also an auxiliary RCMP member for nine years.

“I have a vision of what I would like to see Penticton be. I want it to be a very family-oriented community, which I believe it still is,” said

“There is a lot in this community, a lot of positives that are going on to do with the kids and to do with families as well as seniors.

“What I mean by family is right from grandma and grandpa right down to the littlest member of the family.”

Family plays into Buchanan’s views on business, noting family-run businesses are what built many small communities like Penticton.

His approach is to focus on positives, rather than issues.

“You are always going to get issues.

“That is part of being on council, you have to deal with those issues,” said Buchanan.

“I would rather focus on the positives of this town.”

Buchanan pointed to Challenge Penticton, youth sports and the growing soccer community as some of the positive things happening in the Peach City.

“The soccer community is really going and it is offering a lot.

“There are a lot of positives, we have a world-class soccer facility, we have a world-class event centre.”

Voting for the byelections takes place Sept. 7, 2013.