Hesketh left Hospice House Friday afternoon to officially declare his candidacy. (Brieanna Charlebois/Morning Star)

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

VERNON, B.C. — David Hesketh had beaten terminal cancer twice and had entered hospice to battle it for the third time when he decided to run for city council.

He played a pivotal role in the building of the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre and has deep roots in the community — Bill’s Place was named after his father. He has spent many hours thinking about October’s referendum for a Multi-Purpose Cultural Facility in downtown Vernon.

Related: RDNO launches referendum campaign

Related: Lumby, Armstrong mayors in by acclamation

He said the reason he feels the need to announce his candidacy is the same reason he got involved in designing the Performing Arts Centre 20 years ago.

“The main reason that I got into planning its design was for the kids. I think it’s important for the kids to feel 10 feet tall and the stage and the power of the lights and the audience and that and while we’re at it, let’s make it comfy,” he said. “So now, I agree that we need a cultural centre for sure. The ‘why’ is simple: an art gallery is the first way a kid learns how to use expression apart from a fist. Why would we deny that? Do we want them fighting or do we want them throwing paint on a canvas?”

Though he said that he’s worried that similar barriers will creep up in terms of the referendum: differing opinions and political will.

“There was so much positive momentum from the [Performing Arts] project that it was a beautiful thing to be a part of until you hit the lack of political will. Many people just wanted to build the theatre and be done and move on — which I understand,” Hesketh said. “The question for me is what does it mean by “downtown Vernon” because that’s pivotal for me.”

The referendum, being held alongside the October municipal election, gives voters a chance to have a say in borrowing up to $25 million of the estimated $40 million needed to build the cultural facility. The facility will provide improved space for the art gallery and museum, as well as flexible spaces that will be available to other community organizations struggling to find venues to host their programs and activities.Hesketh said that his first concern is the location because it would be important to have a space that is developable. His hope and proposal: use Polson Park.

“I’d like to see a piece of property that’s not developable in commercial dollars and I have an idea for a concept that’s in Polson Park and into the bank near the Armories Building.”

This is why he decided to run. So on Friday, just an hour before the deadline, Hesketh left hospice where he is battling cancer, to make his way to city hall and declare his candidacy for city council. He said that it’s his passion that keeps his spirits so high.

“I was also considering running for mayor but I’m in no shape for that. I’m in better shape for a council position because I think I’ll cure myself through this as well and have some good years of service still to offer,” he said. “In terms of a job, I don’t think there’s a better one for me than running for council. I’m not asking for a wheelbarrow and shovel. I’m asking for a chair and a microphone.”

He also uses the analogy of a canoe to describe local politics — that if it’s run like a canoe, the objective is to avoid the waves. He wants this to change. A dragon boat, he said, would be more effective.

“In a dragon boat, you give everyone a paddle and take the paddles away from the leaders and give them a drum, hit the waves head on and explore because life begins beyond your comfort zone.”

And beyond his comfort zone he went. Using a cane for support and his daughters, a good friend and local documentarian Jim Elderton by his side, he made the trip to city hall and officially declared candidacy. He said the point is to have his voice heard, regardless of if he gets the votes.

“Yeah, it is kind of crazy but it’s also something he’s always wanted to do, especially now with the cultural centre,” said his youngest daughter Sara Ward-Hesketh, 15. “I think it’s cool and we all support him.”

Afterwards, heading back toward his car, Hesketh stumbled. He almost fell but he regained his balance just in time.

“That’s what it’s all about,” he said, smiling. “It’s not whether you fall, it’s whether you get back up. And the whole point of what I’m trying to do actually is just that. I believe in this enough to fight for it. The Cultural Centre has got to happen and if I get knocked down on the way, then I get knocked down on the way, but I didn’t and that’s the first test. I’ve filed my papers, I’m running… gosh, that’s scary.”

Related: Regional District of North Okanagan to share info on Vernon cultural facility referendum

Related: Voter registration push begins for B.C. referendum

Related: B.C. group files for injunction to suspend voting referendum

To report a typo, email:
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com
.



Follow me on Twitter @BrieChar
Email me brieanna.charlebois@vernonmorningstar.com
Like us on

 

David Hesketh has spent much of his time in hospice drawing culture centre plans. (Brieanna Charlebois/Morning Star)

Hesketh’s hope is that the Centre be located in Polson Park. (Brieanna Charlebois/Morning Star)

Just Posted

Kelowna Art Gallery hosts new exhibition, Poetics of Space

The exhibition can be viewed from Feb. 2 until May 5

Kelowna RCMP use spike belt to apprehend alleged car thieves

Both suspects were expected in court Thursday morning

Kelowna RCMP ask for assistance to identify suspects

The break and enter resulted in a firearm being stolen

TELUS works with YMCA for Okanagan youth

A four week employment program will assist at-risk youth

First recreational cannabis store in Okanagan has quiet opening near Lake Country

Indigenous Bloom has opened on Okanagan Indian Band land

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Hergott: Memories of crashes fade

Lawyer Paul Hergott writes about the importance of journaling after a crash

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Remorse high for Vernon man sentenced for car surfing death

Driver of car that killed friend who was car surfing gets nine months in jail

Most Read