Council ballot starts to fill up

The number of people looking for a spot at the Vernon council table is growing.

The number of people looking for a spot at the Vernon council table is growing.

Lily Kerr, Jack Gilroy, Mary-Jo O’Keefe and Bob Spiers have all filed nomination papers in the last few days for the six available councillor seats in the Nov. 19 civic election.

“I like the direction the city is going in and I’d like to see that continue,” said Gilroy of why he is seeking a third term.

A retired deputy fire chief, Gilroy was first elected to council in 2005 and has lived in Vernon since the late 1960s.

Among Gilroy’s priorities is to resolve the ongoing conflict between Vernon, Coldstream and the regional district over parks and recreation.

“Arguing all of the time is just a waste,” he said.

Gilroy is also concerned about the state of Vernon’s infrastructure and improving traffic flow.

“I’d like to make extending 48th Avenue (to Old Kamloops Road) a priority because it will take pressure off 43rd Avenue and 32nd Street,” he said.

Kerr has ran three times before and she says she’s compelled to let her name stand again.

“Nothing has changed. They are still talking about clean industry and affordable housing,” said  the Vernon native who runs a business.

“We need an average person on council. I would spend citizens’ money the way they want.”

One of Kerr’s primary concerns is the city’s plans to reduce road lanes for vehicles so bicycle paths can be expanded.

“What they are doing with bike lanes is ridiculous. I don’t support road diets and it’s a total waste of time and money,” she said.

“There is no accountability from council. They listen but they don’t listen.”

O’Keefe, who is seeking a second term, grew up in Vernon and runs a communications business.

“The city is going in the right direction with many things but there are still some things that need to go ahead,” she said.

A goal for O’Keefe is to work with developers and residents to stimulate the economy.

“In the past, we’ve made it difficult for people to invest in the community,” she said.

Among the items O’Keefe is proud of are removing dumpsters from alleys and reducing crime downtown.

“We’ve made great, progress,” she said, adding that the local economy has also seen some investment despite the recession.

Spiers is just completing his first term on council and he says he has unfinished business.

“Hopefully I can be more persuasive of council to look at the financial straits the city finds itself in,” he said, adding that there’s a need for a core audit of city activities.

“We can’t keep going the way we’re going. Eighty per cent of tax money goes to salaries.”

Spiers is also concerned that infrastructure, such as sewer lines and roads, is failing in Vernon.

“We need to get away from building new stuff and go back to repairing existing stuff,” he said.

Spiers has lived in Vernon since 1991 and is a retired brokerage manager.

Also filing papers for councillor are Kelly Fehr and Catherine Lord, while those seeking the mayor’s position are incumbent Wayne Lippert and Rob Sawatzsky.

Nominations for the Nov. 19 civic election will be accepted at Vernon city hall until 4 p.m. Friday.