Voters in Area J sent their incumbent director back to office for another four years in Saturday’s civic election.
Rick Smith was returned by a healthy 53.1 per cent of the vote, defeating Gord Zaitsoff for the position of Area Director on the Regional District of Central Kootenay board.
Area J includes Ootischenia, Robson and other areas around Castlegar.
During the campaign we asked Smith to answer a series of questions about himself and his policies. Here’s what he wrote then:
1. Tell us about yourself.
I have lived in Robson since 1981 with my wife Donna. We have been married for over 41 years and raised our daughter here. We operate a small farm and really appreciate the way of life that this rural community offers.
Professionally, I have worked for a number of local organizations including Selkirk College, the provincial government and as a contractor for the City of Castlegar. I have always believed in giving back to my community. My wife and I started the Pass Creek Regional Exhibition Society in 1995. Our signature event – the annual Pass Creek Fall Fair – just marked its 25th anniversary this September.
2. What qualities do you possess that would make you a good Area J director?
Smith: For the past four years, I have been honoured to serve this community as the RDCK’s Area J director. I am committed to my community and the people that live here. I am fiscally responsible and work hard to ensure your tax dollars are well managed. I am responsive to all of my constituents and make sure that your voices are heard. I am very pleased with what I have accomplished for our community during this time, and hope to continue to work for you as the Area J director at the Regional District of Central Kootenay.
3. What do you see as the biggest issue facing Area J and how would you address it?
Smith: Following this summer’s devastating wildfires, it is critical that we develop a local fire mitigation strategy. I plan to meet with my constituents this fall to ask for ideas and input. Their input will directly influence the strategy, which will be in place for next summer.
4. Considering the referendum on expanding the Castlegar community complex passed in Area J but failed overall, what do you think should be done regarding the future of the facility?
Smith: My job is to represent my constituents at the Castlegar and District Recreation Commission. The results from the referendum show Area J supports enhancements to the community complex. I will continue to work with the recreation commission and my constituents to find a solution that balances improvements to the facility with fiscal responsibility. I am confident that we can find a solution that works for everyone!
5. What do you hope to accomplish by the end of your term?
Smith: I have been honoured to be asked by so many constituents to continue to serve the community as the Area J director. If re-elected, I will: conduct a public review the Official Community Plan, invest in local infrastructure, enhance indoor and outdoor recreation opportunities, including the implementation of the Waterloo Eddy Regional Park management plan and the planned improvements for Pass Creek Regional Park; continue to ensure that we continue to have a full slate of doctors for our area; guarantee that your voice is heard at all levels of government; improve daily flight reliability at the West Kootenay Regional Airport; and conserve our local culture and heritage.