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Westbank First Nation gears up for 2013 election
Westbank First Nation members will decide who will represent them for the next three years when they go to the polls Aug. 30.
The current council is made up of Chief Robert Louie and councillors Mike De Guevara, Lorrie Hogaboam, Chris Derickson and Mic Werstuik.
Louie and one other candidate, Roxanne Lindley, are running for chief, while 12 candidates are vying for the four councillor positions.
Fernanda Alexander, Rose Caldwell, Hailey Angelina Causton, Mike De Guevara, Corinne Derickson, Chris Derickson, Brian Eli, Janine Lott, Robert Keith Sr. Swite, Will Swite, Sara Tronson and Mic Werstuik are the candidates running for council.
Hogaboam is not running in this year's election; therefore, there will be at least one new face on council.
Incumbent chief Louie didn't initially think he would be running in the 2013 WFN election; however, he changed his mind due to some unfinished business.
"I guess there are two real main projects that we have—two main reasons that I believe my involvement will be helpful to WFN," said Louie.
The first is the proposed private hospital that Louie recently announced will begin construction in October.
Louie has been involved with the project since its inception and said the project needs "a clear leader" who is intimately involved with the vision.
A second key issue for Louie is the land additions owed to WFN from the province as part of the Westside Road Interchange Project.
Originally the province considered exchanging 698 acres of Crown Land in Rose Valley; however, it backed away from that option after considerable pushback from the public and the District of West Kelowna.
"This land selection has taken a long time. There are issues there with the province to iron out—it's a major thing.
"I believe that it's such a significant issue that I want to see its way through to completion."
Louie is optimistic the land exchange will be resolved with the region's new MLA, Premier Christy Clark.
"We have sat down with the premier; we have a commitment from the premier to do regular meetings—I think that's a good sign.
"I think she fully expects that we're going to be down to some serious discussions that will require her direct involvement. I'm, quite frankly, looking forward to that."
Regardless of whom WFN members choose to elect, Louie said the next council will have a series of complex issues to deal with.
"I think our membership are very astute. They analyze all the candidates and I'm sure (they) will do what's required and (elect) those who can really handle the job."
Members are eligible to vote if they are 18 years old, are listed on the membership roll and are included on the electors' list.