Civic election: No strangers to regional district affairs

The Central Okanagan east and west electoral areas will be served by two directors who have something in common: Experience.

The Central Okanagan east and west electoral areas will be served by two directors who have something in common: Experience.

Jim Edgson and Patty Hanson were both named regional district directors on Nov. 19.

Edgson earned the title of Central Okanagan west electoral area director.

He said that he wasn’t nervous this time around on election night.

“The last two times, I was very confused about the process, I was confused about low voter turnout and I was confused about some people’s attitudes that were negative (towards) me,” said Edgson.

“This time, I knew that was going to happen.”

Edgson said that he and his wife were a door knocking team that approached 4,500 homes.

“We were prepared either way. When the results came in, we were happy that we got it. But we were also prepared should we have not.”

The race for regional director of the west electoral area got particularly interesting when Aaron Dinwoodie threw his hat in the ring and announced that he would run.

In the end, Dinwoodie only received 98 votes while 250 ballots had a check beside Edgson’s name. The other challenger, Dave Robertson, finished with 162 votes.

The role of regional director is one that isn’t always clear to all residents, but Edgson said he felt it was definitely relevant.

“The people are genuinely concerned about regional issues and they do not want to see anybody fail. They want to see that everything is done for the benefit of everyone in the region.”

Edgson said that there are a number of things that he is hoping to get working on now that he’s been reelected.

He wants get better library service into rural areas, he wants to continue working with the provincial government to see Westside Road improved and he wants to improve the relationship with Westbank First Nation.

“I think it’s time we started working with them. We can take advantage of each other and make this a much better place to live.”

Edgson said he’s recently been asked whether or not he’ll run for another term after this one.

“That’s just like asking a mother who just gave birth to quintuplets whether she wants to have more children.”

Hanson was in a much closer race for Central Okanagan east electoral area director.

On the evening of Nov. 19, Hanson earned the title after receiving 272 votes. Her challenger, John Collinson, received 260 votes.

She said that she was very nervous on election night.

Hanson lives in Joe Rich and was regional district director for the Central Okanagan east area for two terms from 2002 to 2008.

In the 2008 election, Hanson lost out to Kelly Hayes by five votes.

This time, Hanson ran her campaign with a focus on her experience.

“I would say that most regional board directors, that have never been in politics before, spend the first year learning, the second year still listening but not knowing the process to go on and the third year making a plan to do stuff,” said Hanson.

“I’ve got all the experience needed to go forward on the issues; I know the people and the process now.”

According to Hanson, the role of regional district director is important to support the electoral area by representing them on the regional board.

There are a few issues that Hanson is eager to get working on soon after she is sworn in.

“One of the biggest issues in Ellison is that the (transit) that they have right now is not working for them,” she said.

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to do this, but I would go as far as looking into a park and ride.”

Hanson said that there are a couple of issues that she wants to see resolved in Joe Rich as well.

“When you go through other small communities in the province, when you get to the small towns the speed limit goes down to 60 or 70 km/h. In Joe Rich, it doesn’t.

“When we get as much traffic as we do from Big White coming through our community, it (concerns) a lot of parents.”

One of Hanson’s goals is to utilize her experience and be a strong voice on the regional board.