Candidates take questions

Interviews with three people running for the vacant council seat in Castlegar.

Those who have announced their intentions to run for the vacant City of Castlegar council seat in the Sept. 14 by-election. L-R: Florio Vassilakakis

There are currently three people who have said they will be running in the September 14 by-election for the vacant seat on the City of Castlegar’s council.

The by-election was called due to the resignation of Russ Hearne and will take place on Saturday, September 14.

The window for candidates to file and declare as candidates starts on July 30 at 9 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. on Friday, August 9.

Those thinking of running, need to contact Carolyn Rempel, Chief Election Officer (City Hall, Castlegar) at 250-365-8954 to receive a candidate package. Rempel said candidates need to be aware of a number of requirements under the Local Government Act.

On July 22 and 23, we asked the three a few questions. Responses have been paraphrased and edited for length. If more candidates announce intentions to run, we will, of course, interview them as well.

Watch the Castlegar News for more as the election date draws near.

Here are six of the questions we asked.

1. Most valuable skill you feel you would bring to council?

2. Who do you admire and why?

3. What is your primary motivation for running?

4. Every year since 2008 the West Kootenay Regional Airport has seen drops in passenger traffic. What needs to be done to get the airport to the forefront in the region?

5. Do you think the current environmental assessment process is adequate for major projects?

6. What’s your first instinct in a crisis?


Kirk Duff, 54; quality assurance specialist with Teck Metals Ltd.

1. I like to be well-informed and have pretty good judgement. It’s my ability to adequately think an issue or decision through and I trust my gut feeling.

2. I admire Audrey Moore, the mayor at the time when I was first elected. She was never afraid to make a decision, some weren’t popular and some were, but she always had the best interests of the community at heart and you have to admire a person for that.

3. I’m not finished yet. Refreshed, renewed and ready to go.

4. The instrument landing system needs to be installed here and we need the airlines to install the proper equipment on their planes. That will have a major impact on the reliability of the airport. WestJet is equipped with the navigation system and that’s the kind of thing we need here; an airline that can come in using that equipment.

5. I don’t think we’re ever going to find policies that are pleasing to everybody at the same time. The process, like any other, evolves and grows based on input from the parties involved. It’s very difficult because people in B.C. are passionate about their land, the air we breathe and the water that runs in the creeks, rivers and streams. I think all Canadians are. The environmental process has to be weighted properly to consider the needs of the economy and the people that live here every day.

6. Stay calm, think clearly and consult.


Tyler Maddocks, 25; Heritage Credit Union accounting clerk/investment advisor assistant

1. Education, my youth and passion for this community. I feel like I have a different touch with the youth here. I’ve had a great response through Facebook with people getting involved and asking me questions. I’m in an accounting role at the credit union and have a business administration diploma from Selkirk College. This was an area I was born and raised in and more needs to be done to ensure people stay updated and can easily voice their own opinions.

2. I  do look up to some of the things my grandfather and great uncle did for the community. Although I never met Bob Maddocks (he passed away a few months after I was born), it’s amazing to still hear stories of things he did to benefit the community.

3. I first ran in the 2011 election. I’d like to make a difference in the community. I think the current council is doing a lot of things right and is taking the right steps forward. I do think somebody younger can bring a different perspective and get others involved.

4. I think that’s another thing the council is making great steps forward in with the whole WestJet bid; continuation of that would be a great step. More competition here would be fantastic. I’ve flown to Vancouver a few times and had no problems but I’ve never done it in the dead of winter.

5. I think so. Like any assessment process, it’s always a good idea to be periodically reviewed and open to adjustments.

6. Make sure as many people as possible stay informed and make sure my family and others are safe.


Florio Vassilakakis,35; general manager of The Element Club Bar Grill in Castlegar

1. I think I like to get things done. I like to make decisions, follow through on those decisions and make things happen. You need to be decisive when you’re dealing with important issues on council or any board of directors.

2. In different parts of my life I admire people for different reasons. In business it would be Steve Jobs. I think his business philosophy really resonated with me, especially when I came to Castlegar. People were skeptical about building what we were attempting to build. Jobs’ philosophy was you can’t really ask your customers what they want because they don’t know because it hasn’t been invented yet. I’m not comparing myself to Jobs but it resonated because people didn’t really realize what was missing. We had a vision and business plan and showed Castlegar what we wanted to be. This translates to city council because you listen to your constituents but they are electing you because you have a vision for what you want the community to be and we want to deliver that vision.

3. I feel like I have a different perspective, in part because I’m a young business person. I have a different perspective when it comes to what’s important to youth because I am young. Not just because I have a business that deals directly with youth but I’m involved in the community; I see a cross-section of it and have conversations with that cross-section. I think I have something positive to add to the discussions at council.

4. My business has been affected by airport issues but even the charity groups that have done events in my establishment have been affected by the airport. Until we understand that it’s a major part that’s missing — people not being able to get in/out of this community — until we decide it’s important, we’ll be having the same conversation. We need to make transportation a priority because after that comes economic development, job growth and population growth.

5. If you can take the politics out of it, the process is probably pretty good. But adding that layer, everything becomes much more convoluted than it should be.

6. To quickly look over the facts so that I’m up to speed on what’s going on.

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