They’ve both served as mayor for West Kelowna; they’ve both spent the last four years in the District of West Kelowna council chambers.
But only one will continue to hold political power come Nov. 19.
Doug Findlater and Rosalind Neis are the two names that West Kelowna residents will see under the mayor category when they head to the polls next month.
Findlater, who has lived in the West Kelowna area for 36 years, said that implementing a series of plans is a key ingredient to focus on over the next three years.
“We’ve got a multiplicity of infrastructure plans for roads, sidewalks, bike paths, parks, trails and some of the stuff that isn’t very sexy related to sewers and water. We need to implement those plans, but we need to do it in a way that doesn’t impact the taxpayer,” said Findlater.
“That’s a real challenge, but there are ways of doing that with partnerships and synergies.”
Neis said that unlike the previous two elections, the biggest issue isn’t crystal clear this time around.
“I don’t think there is a burning issue; I don’t think there is one single hot topic. The first time out there was the incorporation thing. The second time around there was the name issue. This time I’m not hearing that there is any one driving force. Talking to people, everyone has common issues, but there’s not one that stands out amongst the others,” said Neis.
She mentioned a few common issues that she has heard through conversations with residents, such as sidewalks around schools, safety for children, tax implications in the coming years and the overall condition of West Kelowna’s infrastructure.
According to Findlater, his experience in West Kelowna governance makes him the best choice for mayor.
“I have a long experience with the Westside governance process in terms of putting together the framework for our municipality. I’m a teamwork person, I facilitate teamwork among members of council where we pull together and take a single vision,” said Findlater.
“If I don’t support a council decision, it’s very important for a mayor to still represent the will of the majority. That’s a key thing: What’s done is done. I’ve demonstrated in the past three years that I have what it takes and have since the beginning, but I also think I’m getting better. I find I’m learning new things and gaining steam and confidence on a variety of issues.”
Neis said her unique leadership style is a quality that would make her the best choice for mayor.
“My leadership style is very different from what we currently have. I’ve learned a lot in the last four years. There are things that I will do differently this time around that I didn’t do last time, (such as bringing) council together on issues that are important for the community,” said Neis.
“I care about people. If a neighbourhood or a community really wants or really doesn’t want something, their voice has to be recognized. When you try to find common ground, you usually can. But that effort has to be put into it.”
According to Neis, she wasn’t taking the easy route when she decided to run for mayor.
“I think I could’ve probably done not a whole lot and been re-elected to council on my reputation. But I felt that, instead of sitting back and taking the easy road, I’m the kind of person that if I firmly believe in something, I will stand up for it and put my name and myself out on a limb and say this is where I think we need to go.
“I wasn’t completely happy with the direction that our community was taking. There’s been a lot of indecision on council. There hasn’t been a real driving individual to just say, ‘We don’t need to look at this anymore, we actually need to do something about it.’”
Findlater said that campaigning this time around has been more difficult than years past.
“I’m struggling with being a candidate at the same time as being a mayor because the mayor is a full-time job. What I have been doing is going to events. I have the signs up, they’ve been updated. I have brochures. I hope to get door to door as we go along but that’s really time dependent.”
Neis’ campaign strategy will consist of meeting as many community members as possible, face to face.
“It’s really the personal contact that I like: Actually talking to people door to door. It’s a great way to get a sense of what it is that people are after and what they feel about their community,” said Neis.
“I haven’t been a big fan of signage. I do have signs made, but I’m really intending for people—if they choose to support me—to put them out on their lawn to show their individual support. That may be an unwise political decision, but as a person I just find that really distasteful to see all those signs.”
Findlater said that residents can view his “comprehensive platform” at www.findlater.com.
Neis is sharing her “brief outline” via e-mail. Those interested can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.