The speculation is now over about who will and won’t run in the various Central Okanagan civic elections come voting day on Saturday, Nov. 15.
The questions now shift to the candidates and what they stand for, and will they either individually, as a slate or as an overall group excite people enough to exercise their democratic right to vote.
This time around, there are 27 new challengers along with the four incumbents running for Kelowna city council, down from the 43 candidates three years ago.
While a whittled down field is not necessarily a bad thing, the decline in interest when four seats are looking to be filled with newcomers is somewhat surprising.
Whether it is the time commitment of a four-year term or just a general lack of interest in civic politics this time around, the fact remains there will be some diverse options for voters to ponder over.
Responsible civic government spending and taxation, and promoting business growth seem to be central themes running through the mayoral and city council candidates.
West Kelowna has incumbent Doug Findlater having to fend off challenges from two candidates, Stephen Johnson and Mary Mandarino, while the council race sees five incumbents and eight others, among them former mayor Rosalind Neis and past candidate businessman Rusty Ensign, seeking a seat at the council table.
While the Peachland and Lake Country school board candidates were re-elected by acclamation, there will be races for the West Kelowna and Kelowna trustee positions.
Though it is heartening to see education issues drawing some attention in this election season, the B.C. Ministry of Education’s control over budget and spending issues has left all school boards across B.C. limited in their governing capacity to impact serious fiscal issues, such as the recent teachers’ strike where school trustees were largely bystanders to a nasty labour dispute.