Five of the Regional District of Central Kootenay’s 11 rural regional directors plan to seek re-election this fall, while two will retire and three others are undecided.
John Kettle (seen at left), who has represented rural Creston since 2002 and chaired the board since 2010, is among those still thinking about it.
“I reserve the right to make my choice known on October 10,” he said. Kettle explained a number of things would factor into his decision, including his age (he’s 67), his family, the recent resignation of the regional district’s administrator and naming of a successor, as well as the turmoil of emergencies the last few years including the Johnsons Landing slide and Lemon Creek fuel spill.
Also unsure are rural Castlegar director Andy Davidoff, who said he is “seriously considering” seeking a second term, and rural Nelson director Ramona Faust, who said she is evaluating her options.
Faust (seen below) said she would like to see a number of projects to completion, including repairs to the Nelson aquatic centre, development of a management plan for the Balfour Beach, transit improvements, and a plan for local health facilities.
“After three years of confining my activities to the regional district I am also interested in part time employment in my field but I very much enjoy serving the community,” she said. When first elected in 2008, Faust was among the few directors to hold down an additional job.
Two directors are not expected to run again. Rural Kaslo’s Andy Shadrack retires after nine years in office “and 51 in politics.” His alternate, Aimee Watson, will seek to replace him.
Two-term rural Nelson director Ron Mickel said he won’t stand for re-election — although he planned to bow out three years ago only to change his mind at the last minute. “I suppose that could happen again but I don’t think so,” he said.
Those who hope to be back include longtime Arrow Lakes director Paul Peterson and rural Salmo director Hans Cunningham, who has served continuously since 1986. If returned to office, Cunningham would break John Voykin’s record as the longest serving RDCK director three years into his next term.
Slocan Valley director Walter Popoff said he will try for a third term, citing a long list of projects he hopes to complete, including the Crescent Valley Beach Park, a parks and recreation master plan, and Slocan Lake management plan. Popoff also said he wanted to work toward upgrading local health care facilities and having Health Canada consult communities before licensing medical marijuana facilities.
Similarly, rural Creston director Larry Binks (seen at left) said he is running for re-election because of a number of initiatives he’d like to see come to fruition, including the West Creston fire service and a fresh water fish and shrimp farm in West Creston. He also wants to help improve the sustainability of the Creston Valley wildlife management area’s interpretive centre. “From a personnel point I am very excited where the RDCK is headed,” he added.
East Shore director Garry Jackman also intends to seek another term. “I am enjoying the job,” he said. “It is still the most interesting job I’ve ever had.” Jackman works as a contractor and does some consulting outside his political role, but has always been involved in community work.
Rural Castlegar director Gord Zaitsoff couldn’t be reached.
The regional district’s board also has nine municipal directors appointed by their respective councils.
This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser.
Garry Jackman (Area A – East Shore)
Larry Binks (Area C – Rural Creston)
Hans Cunningham (Area G – Rural Salmo)
Walter Popoff (Area H – Slocan Valley)
Paul Peterson (Area K – Arrow Lakes)
Andy Shadrack (Area D – Rural Kaslo)
Ron Mickel (Area F – Rural Nelson)
John Kettle (Area B – Rural Creston)
Ramona Faust (Area E – Rural Nelson)
Andy Davidoff (Area I – Rural Castlegar)