Armstrong council candidates have long history in community

Collectively, Adrien Lemaire and Gary Froats have almost 80 years between them of living, working and raising families in Armstrong.

Gary Froats (left) and Adrien Lemaire are vying for a seat on Armstrong council in the upcoming by-election.

Gary Froats (left) and Adrien Lemaire are vying for a seat on Armstrong council in the upcoming by-election.

Collectively, Adrien Lemaire and Gary Froats have almost 80 years between them of living, working and raising families in Armstrong.

Now both retired, both men feel they have a lot to offer the community, and have let their name stand to run in the upcoming byelection for a vacant seat on Armstrong council.

Froats moved to Armstrong nearly 40 years ago and immediately went to work, owning and operating several businesses, enjoying married life and helping to raise two kids.

He spent 31 years as a firefighter with the Armstrong Spallumcheen Fire Department, and is a life member of the Armstrong Kin Club.

“Serving my community is something that I’ve always enjoyed,” said Froats. “I always kept a keen eye on local government and was incredibly impressed by the leadership and direction of city council over the years – local government leadership was always something I wanted to pursue but family, business and volunteering with different groups took much of my time.”

Froats hopes that his business experience combined with strong sense of community will give him the skills to contribute at the council table.

“Local government is run in a very business like manner, however, its goal is to provide services to the community,” he said. “The city is run exceptionally well and is guided by a great council so I have full intention of learning the background and contributing through my experience if called upon.” added Froats.

It was the encouragement of others that made Lemaire decide to run for a seat on council.

“I was asked to consider becoming a councillor and I respect the faith and trust people have in me,” said Lemaire, a retired teacher who grew up in Armstrong, graduated from Pleasant Valley Secondary School (where he taught) and held teaching gigs in the Kootenays and Fraser Valley before returning home 25 years ago to raise his family.

“Being a member of council offers a wonderful opportunity to serve and shape the future of Armstrong.”

Calling municipal politics the “front line of government,” Lemaire wants to be involved in the decision-making process.

“I understand the idea of the ‘big picture,’ and that decisions are not easily arrived at,” said Lemaire. “I’ll study, learn, critique, debate and ask the right questions.

“I will do my homework and my decisions will be based on good preparation.”

Lemaire, Froats, and the other two candidates, Helen Jackson and Gil Melin, have been invited to take part in an all-candidate’s forum Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Armstrong Bible Chapel.

Voting will take place in-person at the Odd Fellows Hall from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 19.

Advanced polls will be open today, and Wednesday, Nov. 16, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at council chambers.

Special voting will also take place on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at Pleasant Valley Manor and Pioneer Square (times to be determined).

The byelection became necessary following the death in May of longtime councillor Ron (Sully) O’Sullivan.