Council Candidates 2014

Council Candidates 2014

Council Candidates

The candidates answer your questions about their stance for the coming election.

  • Nov. 6, 2014 9:00 a.m.

The Castlegar News contacted the two mayoral and 10 council candidates and asked them to answer three questions regarding the upcoming municipal election on November 15.

The three questions are:

1. Why are you running?

2. What are your feeling about development?

3. What do you feel is the biggest issue of this election?


Kevin Chernoff

1. I am running because it has been an extremely exciting and busy time for our Community. Projects like Millennium Park, Sculpture Walk, Castlegar Splash Ponds, Infrastructure rehabilitation and new construction just to name a few of the accomplishments that I have been able to share in. We have come a long way all while maintaining fiscal responsibility and financial management.

Other municipalities are jealous of what we have become as a community. So why do I want to run for Castlegar City Council? I want to continue to be part of a collaborative council that has and will continue thru public consultation shape Castlegar’s future as a Community and keep us moving forward into the future.

2. Development is the key to providing growth to our local economy. New development provides jobs and security for our community and stability to our tax base. This allows our community to grow going forward into the future while helping to offset the costs in maintaining a healthy community.

3. There are always issues that need to be addressed hospitals, airport just to name a few though I think a cohesive council has and will continue to make changes in future planning, development and budget considerations to meet the needs of our community. This thru consultation, budget discussions and most importantly input from you the community. A council is nothing more than a voice of the community.


David  Grantham

1. I’m running because I feel that I have a lot to offer from the perspective of a business owner, and of a father of three young kids, who would like to take my progressive thoughts to City Hall and make tourism and recreation our focus moving forward.

2. The global economy has changed us forever, some for the good and some for the bad. The phenomenon of big box stores across the border and in major Canadian markets has taken a lot of money out of the economy of small towns across Canada. We need to adapt to the change and realize that the type of retailers that once flourished in our communities is one of the past. We need to move our community to one that’s more focused on tourism and recreation, which are both renewable resources that we need to harness. That being said we should also embrace development of Big Box Store’s, as these types of store’s are called “Destination Retailers” who would attract many people from all around to our area.

3. Health care remains the biggest issue in our region I feel, as we can’t continue to dump millions of tax dollars into a hospital that is well past it’s prime. At last week’s West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital Board meeting it was stated very clearly that upgrades are not even possible to some parts of the KBRH in Trail. The cost of a “one site” new regional hospital is pegged at $400 million dollars, I can’t even imagine what the cost would be estimated at in 10-20 years. It is time for our entire region to come together as one and do what is right. A new Regional Hospital “where ever it’s built” would change the face of our region forever, and could be the catalyst for economic growth.


Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff

1. For the past three years I have been honoured to serve the City of Castlegar as one of your councilors. I have been working hard with residents and council to make our community what it is today — the second-fastest growing city in the West Kootenays. What do I bring to the council table:

1.) Commitment

2.) Honesty

3.) Accountability

4.) Hard Worker

And above all integrity.  If re-elected I will continue to put this community first as this is where I live, where my children are growing up and this is where I work and play.

2. You need development for economic growth and prosperity and for the wellness of our community. However, there must be a need for a commitment to strategic planning processes over the long term rather than dependence on a “quick fix” option. You must ensure that your community is engaged in the process to ensure success of any development.

3. I think there are two big issues this election – the first being that we need to ensure a bigger turnout of voters and two about leadership. Voter turnout has been record low over the past several elections – this is your opportunity to select individuals that will ultimately sculpt the future of Castlegar.

And second – leadership – without leadership nothing gets done. You need to select a leader that has the passion, commitment and someone who values their community. Someone who strives to be a strong voice regionally and rolls up their sleeves to get things done. Someone that works with the community not against the community and who believes in their team.




1. As the youngest candidate once again, and one who can proudly say that I am born and raised here in Castlegar, it’s time for one seat to sit a new councilor of a new generation to bring new view points, ideas and energy. This is my third attempt at running for a seat on Castlegar city council. I am in this for the long run. I have a strong desire to get youth more engaged in community life, while maintaining a strong focus on our working families and seniors.

2. Over the last few years, we have seen so many businesses close particularly in the downtown core. We need to be more aggressive in attracting new businesses throughout Castlegar downtown and on our vacant airport lands. Marketing our one of kind Millennium Park ponds and recreation site to boost downtown tourism will be a key feature for Castlegar as a destination for tourists. Millennium, coupled with Syringa Park, local ski hills, new and exciting biking trails, local hiking and ATV access, and snow mobile trails, all make Castlegar an amazing place to be year round.

3. Working on getting the public better engaged and more informed on how our tax dollars are spent before they are committed to unwanted or unpopular projects is important to all residents and tax payers.

Improvements in social media interaction are important to attracting younger residents to municipal politics in Castlegar. Working with the youth of our city to get a better understanding of their needs and desires is a very important platform for my election strategy.


Kere MacGregor

1. Having lived in the Castlegar area for the last 20 years, raised and educated my family, owned and operated two businesses and had a successful career in the public school system, I feel it’s time to give back to the community what it has so generously given to me. While the current council has done a good job over its term, I believe an infusion of new ideas and fresh faces is healthy in any democratic system.

2. Development, specifically revitalization of the downtown core, is my highest priority.  We need to embark on a plan of community consultation to firstly create a vision of what we want the downtown core to look like and secondly to devise a fiscally responsible plan to encourage the development of appropriate commercial, residential and cultural projects. We have a wonderful opportunity to thoughtfully re-create something special for downtown Castlegar.

3. There are certainly many issues being debated this election such as downtown revitalization, health care, airport upgrade and economic security. These issues all have their importance particularly to the ones most affected. I believe our greatest challenge and responsibility is to ensure that whatever issue we are tackling we do so with honesty, inclusion, collaboration and with the communities best interest always at mind. We need to ensure that all the projects and decisions made by council are representative of what the community agrees are important.


Deb McIntosh

1. I am asking for your support for a four year term.  I have more work to do, more time to give and unwavering need to serve my community. I have been on council for 12 years and I am just getting  started.

2. We have moved Castlegar in a positive direction. A direction of growth and economic pluses. We have seen a steady rise in development and residential growth. We are the community that people are looking at. We have the infrastructure for the airport lands and we are on the cusp of better things to come. We are in sound financial health. We have a good a working OCP  and a solid five year plan for more growth and infrastructure.  We have the vision to carry it forward.

3. I believe the issue facing this election is one of leadership. We have a mayor who has taken us to a new level of community, a mayor proud of his city.

We have a challenger for his seat that has at every occasion slammed the governing body and it’s management, a candidate that we ensure chaos and unrest. A candidate that wants to be in opposing roles as Mayor and Area J Director.

We need to stay with what works.  A progressive forward thinking mayor and council that has the values that represent the community.

I am a strong independent voice and I have shown leadership.  I ask for your support on November 15.


We have a challenger for his seat that has at every occasion slammed the governing body and it’s management, a candidate that we ensure chaos and unrest. A candidate that wants to be in opposing roles as Mayor and Area J Director.

We need to stay with what works.  A progressive forward thinking mayor and council that has the values that represent the community.

I am a strong independent voice and I have shown leadership.  I ask for your support on November 15.


John Phillips

1. I first thought about it when I kept seeing money being spent on projects that seemed unnecessary and in some cases frivolous such as the lights under the Hwy 3 overpass and the rainbow crosswalk and the water and sewer to the airport lands and the ponds at Millennium Park.

I live on Connors Road and of course have witnessed the four projects that have had a huge negative impact on our neighborhood. I started doing some research and I was shocked to learn about the state of our water infrastructure and that council had voted to take $3.6 million out of reserves to put into this years budget when they were well aware of our infrastructure needs. I began to talk to other residents who were as surprised as I was and who encouraged me to run. Whether I get elected or not I have brought the issues that concerned me forward and the residents can decide how they wish to see the next four years unfold.

2. I am not sure what type of development you are talking about — residential, commercial, light industrial, heavy industrial. There is no short answer and you’ve limited us to 250 words total for all three questions. Once I understand exactly what you mean I could give a more detailed answer.

3. The biggest issue for me is how are we going to proceed to upgrade the infrastructure ­— water, sanitary sewer, storm sewer and roads and how are we going to pay for the needed upgrades? Water alone has been identified at $66 million by 2029. There is approx. 34 kms. of asbestos cement pipe that has reached it’s design life expectancy and at $.5 – $1 million/ km it will be very costly. That will be a huge job with a huge price. How will we pay for it? Are we going to wait until it starts failing before we start to do something – either start putting money aside or start replacing parts of it or both?  Status quo is not an option.


Dan Rye

1. I moved to Castlegar in 1999 to become the Manager of Kootenay Market. I am past president of the Castlegar Rotary Club and also the Chamber of Commerce. I have been involved in many other community groups since moving here. I believe in getting involved in my community as a community is only as strong as its citizens.

When I ran in 2011 my priorities were the airport, millennium park, business retention and expansion, community pride and health care. These will continue to be my priorities but we have made great strides on some of these issues.

2. There are a number of developments being looked at for Castlegar at this time and if re-elected I will work hard to see that these developments come to fruition. These projects will provide jobs and new housing in our community.

The airport is a vital component for development in the region. With increased reliability at the airport we can work towards attracting new business and development to the area. This area is a year round recreation area with rivers, lakes, skiing, mountain biking and hiking right at our doorstep. These need to be promoted and the airport is an important link to this.

We have made  huge strides in community pride over the last few years, Communities in Bloom has been recognized Internationally for the fantastic work they have done. Sculpturewalk was the talk of the UBCM Convention in Vancouver in 2013—Castlegar really is the Sculpture Capital of Canada.

3. Health care and recreation will be important issues in the next few years. The city has taken a lead role in putting together a report on health care that is going to be a part of a workshop in early 2015  at the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital Board.

The Regional District is embarking on a Recreation Master Plan for this area. I support this process as it will let local groups and organizations contribute to the decision making process on future recreation needs.

The City has worked at planning for the future with a Waste Water Plan, Paving and Infrastructure Plan, Flood Protection work,  Cycling Master Plan, and will be starting a Storm water master plan in the new year.


Bruno Tassone

1. I am running because I feel that I can help make a difference. I have a good working knowledge of the city works. I have good work ethics. I have a proven business background.  I also have strong ties to the community through family, friends, and volunteering.  I feel that this makes me a strong advocate for the Citizens of Castlegar.

2. I promote development in Castlegar. I hope to see a future secondary industry in Castlegar. For example, a paper mill.

3. I feel the biggest issue of this election is fiscal responsibility and transparent accountability to the citizens of Castlegar.


Florio Vassilikakis

1. I am running for re-election because I have a passion for this city and an absolute desire to see it prosper economically, culturally and socially.  I believe that I am a voice for the youth, a progressive forward thinker and I bring a strong business approach.

2. Yes, absolutely.  Development and growth are not words or ideas to be afraid of.  Development can be anything from a construction project by a private investor to deployment of a broadband network to development and expansion of city recreation facilities/lands, to the development of the airport. We need to grow our tax base, invest in our community, develop our relationship with our citizens and put smiles on people’s faces.  This all circles back to economic development and the opportunities that will present themselves to businesses as our population grows. I will continue to press for policy that creates a climate that inspires entrepreneurship and attracts investment.

3. For me, it’s not about one issue, but about one theme ­— connection.  How do we connect with people and how do people connect.  I believe this current council has done well by bringing people together and providing a focal point in our community with the Millennium ponds.  But we need to do more.  How do we as a council connect and engage with the citizens?  How do people connect in this community?  What do they want to do, where do they want to do it and how?  It is up to council to make a genuine effort to listen, be responsive and take action.