City of West Kelowna Members of the current West Kelowna city council (back row, left to right) Coun. Bryden Winsby, Coun. Duane Ophus, Coun. Rick de Jong, Coun. Rosalind Neis and (front row, left to right) Coun. Rusty Ensign, Mayor Doug Findlater and Coun. Carol Zanon. Winsby, Neis, Ensign and Zanon have all said they plan to seek re-election in October.

West Kelowna mayor mum on his political future

Doug Findlater is holding off making any announcement about running for re-election

With 3 1/3 months until B.C. municipalities hold civic elections, some Central Okanagan council incumbents are making their intentions known about seeking re-election.

But others are more circumspect, preferring to play their political cards closer to the vest. And, in a few cases, some say one thing, while doing something else.

The Capital News recently asked all incumbents on the Kelowna and West Kelowna councils about their political intentions concerning the impending Oct. 20 municipal election.

In West Kelowna, where the city is now entering the phase of its 10-year-old life where years of planning are turning into construction of major projects, four of the seven members of the current council say they are planning to seek re-election.

But not long-time Mayor Doug Findlater.

He says he will announce his intention later this month, but has indicated in the past he’s leaning against running for another four-year term.

If he does run again, he will face a familiar foe. Former city councillor Gord Milsom—who served with Findlater on West Kelowna council up to 2014— has already announced he plans to seek the mayor’s chair regardless of Findlater’s decision.

Incumbent councillors Bryden Winsby, Rosalind Neis, Carol Zanon and and Rusty Ensign all say they are planning to run again as well.

Councillors Rick de Jong and Duane Ophus have not publicly said what they will do, and did not respond to the Capital News inquiry about their immediate future political aspirations.

Here’s how those who did respond addressed the issue of running for re-election Oct. 20:

Mayor Doug Findlater: “I will let you know in due course later in July.”

Coun. Carol Zanon: “In answer to your questions, yes, I am running for re-election. People tell me that there are things that need doing in our community. I am a doer. I finished as the chair of the Westbank irrigation District when my job was done there and the Powers Creek Water Treatment Plant was built. I finished my stint as chair of the Okanagan Regional Library when two new libraries were constructed, a value-for-money study was completed and implemented, and a new CEO was hired. I believe that my job (as a councillor) is not yet finished in West Kelowna.”

Coun. Bryden Winsby: “I plan to seek re-election. I have enjoyed my 10 years on council very much and am very aware that some hard decisions remain as we continue to make the transition to an urban from rural form of governance. I believe I have the experience and ability to help find an acceptable balance between meeting the city’s needs and keeping taxes and fees at a reasonable level.”

Coun. Rosalind Neis: “I truly feel that I can represent the community on issues that are important by making decisions based on what I hear from the public and not on what I think is best. As a member of council, I strongly believe we should be listening to our constituents and voting according to their wishes not according to our own personal ideas. While, as a member of council, I certainly have a broader insight into the many issues our community faces and have a responsibility to be a leader, I still have a responsibility to act according to citizen requests. I strongly encourage people to get involved and speak up on issues. I would love to see new young people run for public office and become the voice of change and future for our great city.”

Coun. Rusty Ensign: “Yes, I am pleased to be running for re-election. As an 11-year trustee of Lakeview Irrigation District, I want to continue to use my background to help with the construction of the new Rose Valley Water Treatment Plant. A city hall site in the Westbank Towne Centre needs to be secured and a plan for a new city hall brought forward that is palatable to the electorate. The gravel resource on the city works yard property should be utilized for city projects and I will continue to advocate for this cost saving. The development services enhancements and improvements review and report, that I brought forward, needs to be implemented. A review of the costs of contracting out hired equipment, snowplowing and road maintenance must be done in order to evaluate whether purchasing equipment for the city is cost effective or not. More RCMP officers need to be hired. There are still some playgrounds needed, trails and forest (fire) mitigation in parks. I will continue to advocate on the behalf of residents on these issues and others. Councils aggressive plan to build more sidewalks to somewhere needs to continue. And, of course, being a quadriplegic I will continue to lobby for the disabled community.”

Duane Ophus: No response

Rick de Jong: No response.

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