Mayoral forum one-sided

Over 50 people showed up on Sat. Nov. 5 for the Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality Mayoral Forum, but only one candidate took to the podium.

Incumbent Mayor Al Raine addressed the audience on several issues that have been underway during his 18 month tenure as mayor.

Raine confirmed that the municipality will announce the name of the new bylaw enforcement officer in the coming days and explained how the municipality is working toward increasing its hotel tax revenue from three to four per cent. He commented on how he continues to pursue provincial funding for the health centre and spoke to ways in which the resort can move forward in the non-winter season.

The mayor also fielded questions about the ongoing legal issues with the Adams Lake Indian Band.

“The one key point (made by Raine) was that he’s been very actively talking with the chief of the Adams Lake Indian Band, Nelson Leon, and will try to reach some kind of understanding between the Band’s needs and requirements and ours,” commented Sun Peaks resident, and audience member at the forum, Peter Duda. “He mentioned that the chief is open to discussion. I think the mayor left the community in a positive understanding.”

“Most of the questions that came up, I was able to say that in the next three years we should be well into those issues,” commented Raine. “I’ve shown a pretty decisive direction that the municipality will take.”

Raine was appreciative of the citizens who came out to the forum, and took the time to ask questions. He’s confident that the first 18 months of municipal status has opened many discussions, and addresses long-term issues. He’s optimistic that matters such as the legal issues with the Adams Lake Band will be resolved in the next mandate.

In regard to challenger Renate Kals’ failure to attend the mayoral forum, Mayor Raine was disappointed. He stated that he believes it’s the responsibility of a candidate to fulfill commitments made, and he’d like to propose democratic amendments to the manner in which a municipal candidate is named. Changes proposed include increasing the number of nominators for a candidate from two to 10 or 15, and the possibility of the candidate levying a bond, non-refundable if the candidate fails to meet a certain number of votes. Raine hopes to bring this issue to council, in the event of his re-election, so that the electoral process is used fairly.

“The negative thing was that the challenger for the mayoral position didn’t show up,” concluded Duda, “But it gave the mayor a tremendous opportunity to speak openly with the community, and it gave the community the chance to ask questions and listen to the mayor. It’s so clear that he’s so committed to the success of the community.”

Attempts to contact Kals for a comment were unsuccessful.

For voting information, visit the Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality.

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