Penticton mayoral race heats up

City of Penticton: Businessman Andrew Jakubeit called his decision to run for mayor one of the worst kept secrets in Penticton

Andrew Jakubeit is running for mayor in the City of Penticton municipal election.

Andrew Jakubeit is running for mayor in the City of Penticton municipal election.

Businessman Andrew Jakubeit called it one of the worst kept secrets in Penticton as he made his decision to run for mayor public this week.Andrew Jakubeit

“The easy decision would have been to stay as councillor, but I think now is the time for some bold thinking,” he said. “Somehow, I feel council has sort of lost its way. We seem to be dealing more with controversy than moving our community forward.”

Jakubeit, coming to the end of his second term on council, announced Sept. 23 that he would be asking the citizens of Penticton to vote for him as mayor on Nov. 15.

Currently, Jakubeit and fellow councillor John Vassilaki are the only two candidates for mayor. Incumbent Mayor Garry Litke has hinted that he is considering not running again, but said he won’t announce his decision until after the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference, which runs to Sept. 26 in Whistler.

Jakubeit is himself involved in the meetings at the UBCM, so he chose to make his announcement via a press release and a video, available on his new campaign website, andrew2014.ca.

Jakubeit is positioning himself to take on both social and economic issues, highlighting both his business career and his involvement in community-oriented projects.

“My platform and vision for Penticton will centre on community pride, economic diversity and vibrancy, fostering a better relationship with the Penticton Indian Band, and ensuring city hall is accountable, accessible, reasonable, and transparent. I will create three mayor select working groups to tackle affordable housing, economic innovations, and tourism,” writes Jakubeit in his release.

Over the last three years, city council has been questioned about its openness and transparency, though that was part of the platform for many candidates in 2011. Jakubeit said council needs to do a better job of informing the community how decisions were arrived at, as well as making more opportunity for citizens to engage council.

“Another big thing is ensuring that more of council is getting that day to day information, not just senior staff and mayor. The Elvena Slump letter was a classic example. All of council wasn’t aware of that taking place,” he said, referring to a recent incident where a prolific critic of council was threatened with defamation charges.

Jakubeit also suggests council could add two meetings to the monthly schedule, and making them more an informal  opportunity for the community to talk to council and for council and staff to be updated on activities.

Jakubeit said his three working groups, on housing, tourism and the economy, won’t just be for show.

“I picked those three because in the last two election cycles, they have all been talked about and not really exploited or actioned.  We are making progress but it is very small steps,” he said, explaining the concept of the working groups is based on the success of the downtown charrette and the waterfront charrette.

It’s more intensive process, he said, than a committee meeting once a month.

“Let’s focus on three core things and chip away at them,” said Jakubeit. “I think we need some sort of vision and something to be not just proud of, but to work towards collectively improving our community.”

Jakubeit also lists his involvement with minor hockey, the Young Stars Classic, Axel Merckx Gran Fondo and other active lifestyle event, including his pet project to have the South Okanagan declared a provincial cycling precinct.

“I will push hard for sports tourism and outdoor adventure. I think there is an opportunity to brand us as a festival and event capital,” said Jakubeit. “We have the infrastructure, we have the volunteers. There is a lot of tourism opportunities here that we are nowhere near in terms of potential.”

Jakubeit said Penticton has some “crucial and pivotal” decisions to make at the polls this November. With his decision to run for mayor opening up another seat on council, he is other community-minded people will see it as an opportunity to run for council.

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CANDIDATE PROFILE:

I am 43 years old, married with two children, and one grandchild. I own the Grooveyard and Groove-V Productions. I’ve been on city council for six years.

Before coming to council I championed to create the Saturday Community market. I am the organizer of the Canucks Young Stars Classic, helped secure the Axel Merckx Granfondo, volunteered with minor hockey for the past 20 years, and run the video screens at PeachFest.

I also sit on various volunteer boards representing sports, business, and the arts. Penticton needs a clear vision with strong leadership, and a champion to truly move forward. I have experience and I’m young and hungry for this city to realize its true potential.

My platform will focus on community pride, economic diversity and vibrancy, fostering better relationships with the Penticton Indian Band, and ensuring City Hall is accountable, accessible and reasonable.

I will create three Mayor’s Select Task Forces to address affordable housing, economic innovations and tourism. Penticton will have new faces on council so we’ll need a bold innovative thinker and consensus builder, someone who can cultivate a working relationship where staff feels valued and inspired, council is empowered, and community pride is reignited.

Please visit andrew2014.ca.