Council seats up for grabs

There is one more opportunity for Coldstream residents to educate themselves before picking their elected representatives Nov. 19.

There is one more opportunity for Coldstream residents to educate themselves before picking their elected representatives Nov. 19.

Mayor and council candidates square off at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.

The top job is being sought by current mayor Jim Garlick and challenger Dave Hrabchuk.

There are eight candidates looking to fill the six council seats: incumbents Maria Besso, Pat Cochrane, Doug Dirk, Richard Enns and Gyula Kiss and challengers John Hegler, Peter McClean and Glen Taylor.

Wrapping up her first term as councillor, Besso is eager to continue working for her community.

“My first three years have served as a wonderful start, I feel like I have become immersed and knowledgeable on all the very complex issues, but there is a lot of critical work left to do, that I feel it is better done with my contribution,” said the 50-year-old mother of three and retired geologist.

With her track record of time dedicated, hard work and willingness to approach all subjects, Besso feels she has a lot still to offer the community.

“I am approachable and welcome conversations and input from the public in all their forms, you can talk to me in person, call me, e-mail me, I have a web page, twitter, and I love participating in community events,” said Besso, who is also a director for the Society for the Protection of Kalamalka Lake and the treasurer for the Vernon branch of the Okanagan Symphony Society.

Enns, who is a lawyer, was inspired to seek re-election after seeing one of his colleagues’ names on the ballot.

“One of the things that influenced my decision is the fact that Jim Garlick is running for mayor again,” said 50-year-old Enns.

The long-time Coldstream resident, who owns Coldstream’s first certified organic apple orchard, is a strong advocate of agriculture.

He is eager to continue playing a role in working to improve the place he and his family call home.

“Hopefully some of the good work that council’s done so far can continue,” said Enns, who is also involved with the North Okanagan Community Foundation, Silver Star Rotary Club and Vernon Ski Club.

This is Hegler’s second time running for council in the community he has called home since he was 10-years-old.

An advocate of government transparency and accountability, Hegler follows civic politics closely and has acted as a spending watchdog for years.

“I believe in freedom of speech and the right to be heard,” said the 69-year-old retired school district carpenter and CUPE president, who is often vocal at council meetings.

One of the issues Hegler has disputed includes the referendum to borrow funds for a new mechanic’s shop and upgrades to the public works yard. He is cautious that, following recent reports and comments plus the municipal office situation years ago, the work will go ahead regardless of the outcome of the referendum.

Pointing to projects such as the Kal Beach ramp, which was over budget, he also questions the $1.3 million mechanic’s shop price tag.

“So how much are they going to be over budget with this mechanic’s shop?”

The recently constructed bioswale in Coldstream Creek is another area of contention for Hegler.

“They spent $65,000 and they diverted all this storm water away from the creek but they forgot one important thing – the cows up creek dropping patties.”