Race heats up for director’s seat

Three candidates have announced they will be running for the Area D director position in the regional district this November.

Three candidates have announced they will be running for the Area D director position in the regional district this November.

Janice Johnson, Tom Siddon and Alan Whitman have put forward their intentions to run for the seat being vacated by outgoing Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen Area D director Bill Schwarz. Schwarz was elected to three consecutive terms as director for Area D, which encompasses Okanagan Falls, Skaha Lake East, Carmi, Kaleden, Apex and Twin Lakes.

Johnson’s long-term goal was to run for public office, and sees the timing as perfect as she believes she is ready to take on the responsibilities and challenges of representing residents of Area D. Johnson, a former RDOS air quality controller, is an entrepreneur with her business A Footstep Closer.

“My strengths lie in supporting families, communities and government moving towards health and well-being, along with building vibrant and sustainable communities. I would be honoured to represent my Area D neighbours with a voice of integrity, experience and a grassroots passion as we move our communities forward,” said Johnson.

Siddon said he is running on a platform of proven leadership for challenging times. The long-time Kaleden resident has extensive experience in public life, having served as a city councillor in Richmond (1975-1977), MP (1978-1993), with nine years as a federal cabinet minister, and most recently as a school trustee in School District 67. He said his experience provided him with insight to work with all levels of government.

“There are two other candidates and I respect both of them and the enthusiasm they bring. In our democracy it’s good to have a healthy discussion about issues and if one of them should emerge the winner they will have my full support. I do believe with some of these issues and the complexity of some of the political and legal discussion that have to occur, I think with all the public dialogue that has to go on that I can be an effective leader for all of that,” said Siddon.

For seven years Whitman served as a trustee of the Skaha Estates Improvement District and in the past year has attended nine residents meetings throughout Area D. He founded the club that eventually became the Okanagan Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and has served as president six times. Whitman is also a member of the Okanagan Similkameen Parks Society and several Penticton and Okanagan Falls clubs.

“Since November 2010 I have routinely attended RDOS board meetings so that, if you elect me, I will not be a neophyte. With the experience that I have gained over the past year I will be able to represent you effectively, after listening to your opinions on significant issues. No other potential candidate was interested enough to regularly attend board meetings,” said Whitman.