Summerland mayoral candidates step up

Summerland residents Roch Fortin and Orv Robson have announced their intentions to run for mayor.

A retired RCMP officer who now operates two small businesses in the community will run for mayor’s seat in the Nov. 15 municipal election.

Roch Fortin has spent 32 years as an RCMP officer, including serving as the officer in charge in several large communities.

During his policing career, he received the Public Service National Award and other awards.

When he retired from the force three and a half years ago, he and his family settled in Summerland where he started Mapleroch and Rochlobster.

Fortin said his desire to run for office was for the future of his sons, seven and 10 years old.

“I want my sons, 10 years from now, to have an option to stay in Summerland,” he said.

He added that Summerland is a community with much potential to attract entrepreneurs and new residents.

Fortin describes himself as a leader, team builder and mediator.

While he has not been a council member, he said he has experience working with elected representatives at the municipal and provincial levels.

“I want to be a leader, to be a bridge builder and move forward in a positive and effective way,” he said.

Downtown revitalization is among his goals for the community. He has rented space on Main Street for a downtown campaign office which will open next week.

“I want to be the greatest ambassador for Summerland,” he said.

During this election, Fortin hopes to see a strong interest in municipal politics. He would like the voter turnout top 50 per cent in the upcoming municipal election.

In the 2011 municipal election, voter participation was 36.1 per cent and in 2008, it was at 47 per cent.

Orv Robson, a councillor in the present municipal council, will seek the mayor’s role also.

“I am passionate about Summerland, have faith in our future and would be honoured to serve as your mayor for the next four years,” he said as he announced his candidacy.

Robson said he would use Smart Growth principles to work in partnership with the agricultural community and the provincial Agricultural Land Commission.

He also wants to obtain grant funding to proceed with infrastructure work, specifically water separation and road upgrades.

“Our aging infrastructure requires attention and reserves must be enhanced to meet those future needs,” he said. “This will necessitate frugal management of our budget to enable the future well-being of our community.”

He said there are some important projects which must be addressed.

“Our infrastructure’s failing badly,” he said, adding that there are roads in the community which are in need of repair work.

The Summerland Aquatic Centre is also an aging facility, he said.

“Our pool is serviceable, but down the road, it’s going to have to be replaced.”

Robson added he would take a community-wide approach as mayor.

“We’ve got to look at the whole community and we’ve got to look at the best possible value for each dollar,” he said.

Robson spent 36 years in the RCMP, including 12 as the commander of the Summerland detachment. He retired from policing work in 2004.

In 2011, Robson was elected to municipal council with support of more than 62 per cent of those who cast ballots.