More people want to be mayor in Peachland than anywhere else in the Central Okanagan.
Originally featuring six candidates before one dropped, the contest now features five vying for the seat—incumbent Cindy Fortin, current Coun. Keith Thom and challengers Eric Hall, Harry Gough and Bob Henderson.
The Capital News asked the candidates about themselves and the issues they feel are important in the district.
General voting day is Oct. 20.
What are the main issues you’d like to see addressed if you’re elected?
Thom: Fifty per cent of people don’t have sewers, we have a water treatment plant to build, we have aging infrastructure. I’m passionate about affordable housing, as I am a secretary treasurer of a nonprofit seniors’ building that’s currently being build.
Fortin: The water treatment plant is in the design stage so I want to make sure we have that clean, safe, reliable drinking water for the community, as well as a full sewer connection for the community and increased wildfire and flood resources for rapid response and prevention. Also, a commitment from MOTI regarding a bypass verses four-laning (of the existing Highway 97 through the district). I really want to work hard on affordable housing for students and seniors.
Hall: The primary issue we have is a (current) mayor and council that doesn’t listen to the public. We’ve had numerous public hearings where people have said they don’t want development and council has ignored them. One that received publicly was Peachtree Village, but there’s been a least half a dozen others where residents have said they didn’t approve of the development, and mayor of council have passed them (despite the opposition).
What makes you qualified for the position?
Thom: My job was to take over troubled nursing homes, to straighten them out in 18 to 24 months and I ran two businesses, a landscaping company and a health and safety firm. I wouldn’t say I’m an accountant, but I can sure as heck read a spreadsheet.
Fortin: Over the past seven years, I’ve gained a lot of experience and connections with representatives of higher levels of government. I’ve also been a resident of Peachland for 35 years. As mayor for the past four years, I’ve worked hard to build this knowledge base. I was also a freelance journalist for 20 years and I used to be a nurse too. I’m a people person, my family was in nursing and I enjoyed nursing. You have to be strong but you also have to be involved in the community and care about people here.
Hall: I’ve been on council (in the past) and, in the last four years, I’ve continued to get the council package and continued to follow the issues. My background is varied. My original business career was as a computer manager of a small software company and in the last 19 years I’ve looked after at British tour groups, so I think my work in well respected and I have a history with business. I consider myself pro-business and cautious about development.
What made you decide to run?
Thom: I knew a number of candidates would be running on sole issue of the three or five storey (buildings) and I wanted to bring to light there’s a whole other area to Peachland than one six-block area on Beach Avenue. I wanted to put a fresh face in the community. I have been quite good at team building over the years in my prior business experience, I love getting in the face of provincial ministers and I’m not shy about it.
Fortin: Taxpayers have invested a lot in me in the last four years and I’ve gained a lot of experience and connections and I want to carry on doing what I can for our community.
Hall: I always felt that if you live in the community you should get involved in it. Personally, I‘ve always been interested in issues and I’ve always wanted to make a difference. I see things in the community that I would like to change.
Harry Gough did not return phone calls from the Capital News and Bob Henderson did not submit his contact information to the district.