Penticton Mayor Dan Ashton on Thursday fended off a challenge from Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes to win re-election as chair of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.
RDOS staff didn’t reveal the vote tally, but it marks the 11th straight year Ashton has been elected to the position by fellow directors
Ashton said he didn’t feel he had a lock on the job.
“You’re always uncertain when you have an election process,” he said afterwards.
Hovanes said he entered the contest because there’s a good chance Ashton, who will run under the B.C. Liberal banner in the spring provincial election, won’t be around too much longer.
“The board does need some continuity throughout this year, and if he does get elected that means we’re looking at another election in May for the chair,” Hovanes said.
He noted, however, that his challenge shouldn’t be misinterpreted as a sign of dissatisfaction with his colleague.
“I’m a firm believer in democracy, and an election’s healthy. There was absolutely no disrespect to Chair Ashton. I even phoned him to let him know my name was going to be put forward,” Hovanes said.
Ashton maintained that he won’t play provincial politics until he steps down to officially begin his campaign in the spring.
Until then, “I have a job to do as the mayor of Penticton and the regional district,” he said.
Ashton was nominated by Brad Hope, the director for rural Princeton, while Hovanes was nominated by Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells. Penticton city councillor and RDOS director Garry Litke declined a nomination from rural Oliver director Allan Patton.
In the election for vice-chair, incumbent Mark Pendergraft, the director for rural Osoyoos, defeated Naramata director Karla Kozakevich.