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Municipal election begins to take shape in Sun Peaks

Province chooses not to reappoint resort councillor, residents announce candidacy
 | August 15, 2022
Photo: Kyle James.

After months spent considering options, the province has decided not to reappoint a resort councillor to Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality’s (SPMRM) council in the upcoming election.

Currently, SPMRM has the only municipal council in B.C. not entirely run by elected officials. Darcy Alexander, general manager of Sun Peaks Resort LLP (SPR), has sat as an appointed member of council representing the resort corporation since the municipality’s inception in 2010.

However, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs said the position will not continue and a fully elected council will be chosen in the October 2022 election.

“The Minister’s appointment of the Sun Peaks councillor was always anticipated to be a limited duration and provide transitional support to the resort municipality,” said a ministry spokesperson in an email to SPIN.

“The Minister of Municipal Affairs considered the various opinions on this issue, including Sun Peaks council’s perspective.”

During a council meeting in May, SPMRM council passed a motion to request the province reappoint the councillor for one more term. Ultimately, the ministry decided the municipality no longer requires transitional support.

“This reflects the maturing of the municipality into a diverse community,” said the ministry.

Mayor Al Raine said the ministry has also suggested ways the resort corporation could still have representation on council, such as through a business advisory committee, but further discussions are necessary.

The decision marks a major change for the local election, meaning all four council seats will be up for reelection, as well as one mayoral seat. In addition, only one current member of council is currently planning to seek reelection, meaning Sun Peaks could be looking at an entirely new set of councillors and mayor for the next term. 

Residents announce plans to run for council

To date, three residents have announced plans to run for council in October’s upcoming election. 

Running for the first time, residents Julie Kimmel and Harold Richins said they plan to see their names on the ballot this fall. Rob O’Toole, a council member since 2018, has also announced he is seeking reelection for another term. 

Some community members encouraged O’Toole to run for mayor.

“I have spent time with [my wife] Tania and the family weighing options so I could do what I feel is best for our family, our business and the community,” O’Toole said in an email to SPIN. 

“My plan is to seek reelection as a councillor … I have met with the mayor and strongly encouraged him to give serious consideration to seeking another term.”

Despite previously telling SPIN he plans to retire, Mayor Al Raine said he is seriously considering running again after his conversations with O’Toole. He said he will likely make a decision by the end of the week.

The regional picture 

Also coming up this October is the Thompson Nicola Regional District election. Mel Rothenburger, the current director of Area P — “Rivers and the Peaks,” of which the area surrounding Sun Peaks falls under — has announced he will not be seeking reelection after holding the position for eight years.

So far, one person has announced a bid for Area P director. Lee Morris, who has served under Rothenburger as the alternate director since 2018, plans to seek election.

SPIN will continue to provide updates as the election period progresses, including an all candidates forum in late September. 

Please reach out to [email protected] with any information.

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