The ballot list for Vernon mayor in the October municipal vote is getting longer.
Darrin Taylor announced Wednesday morning he’s throwing his hat into the ring, saying he’s been urged to run by citizens, business owners and members of council.
Taylor, chairperson of the City of Vernon’s recent Activate Safety Task Force, joins Victor Cumming, Wayne Lippert and Art Gourley as mayoral candidates. Incumbent Mayor Akbal Mund has yet to publicly declare his intention for the Oct. 20 vote.
Running on a platform of positive change, Taylor has assembled a strong team of supporters from all walks of life, including women, seniors, and community leaders. With their input, he has identified issues ranging from attainable housing to public safety and has developed strategies to address them.
“The new challenges that face us as a city require someone able to have open, honest conversations and make decisions that are sometimes difficult,” said Taylor. “We simply haven’t had that kind of leadership over the past few years. People who are familiar with the nature of the work I do have asked me to bring that skill set forward as mayor.”
Taylor is a certified addictions specialist and currently owns Axis Intervention Services, a leader in addiction and occupation health services in Western Canada. His work as an interventionist requires him to face problems head-on and produce remedies that work. His practice involves bringing together parties in conflict, having difficult conversations, and finding solutions that benefit everyone. He is widely known to bring both unwavering compassion and a sense of humour to an intensely challenging profession.
As mayor, Taylor said he will step away from his practice in order to throw all his energy into making Vernon the best that it can be.
Taylor is currently chairperson of the Committee for Development and Economic Sustainability at the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce. His public service has included chairperson of School District 22’s District Parental Advisory Committee, vice-president of the Downtown Vernon Association, and volunteer firefighter for Silver Star and Okanagan Landing. He holds positions of trust at his church and his children’s school and is a volunteer boat captain at the Okanagan Quality Life Society.
“Vernon has so much incredible potential,” said Taylor, “But without strong leadership, we’re simply not realizing it. Given the present slate of serious mayoral candidates, the decision for the citizens of Vernon really boils down to a choice between more of the same or positive change.”
Taylor said the city is on the right track on some issues, like infrastructure replacement.
“For years successive councils and administrators simply let our pipes and wires degrade to the point that we were in a crisis,” he said. “Largely due to the efforts of the present city CAO, the crisis was addressed two terms ago, and in a few more years of sustained effort our infrastructure will be renewed for another half-century.”
However, he said, other issues have been left unaddressed by council.
“One thing that’s become clear to me over the course of meeting with and talking to people in Vernon is the degree of frustration felt by the public at increasing crime and what they see as the ongoing degradation of the city,” said Taylor. “You don’t have to look any further than social media to see the frustration in the city’s failure to recognize and acknowledge the problem, let alone take action to solve it.
“But the larger issue is really what type of community do we want to live in? Are we willing to throw up our hands and say we can’t do anything about needles, litter, and increasing crime? I think we have to do better.”
Taylor acknowledges that both affordable and attainable housing are important issues, and to the extent that municipalities can improve the situation, he plans to do what he can by continuing municipal development incentives for attainable housing and lobbying upper levels of government for more help.
Born in Winnipeg, Taylor spent much of his childhood in the Toronto area and moved to Vernon in 1993. He is an avid skier and a diehard hockey fan. “I chose to come to Vernon 25 years ago, and Vernon has provided my wife and I have a great life,” said Taylor. “As the father of school-aged children, I believe we have an obligation to pass on a thriving community to the next generation. I think we can do better.”