Election 2014: Armstrong candidates launch campaigns

City of Armstrong: Four newcomers are hoping to receive support from voters

Growing up in Armstrong, Steven Drapala felt a strong sense of community.

It’s why he brought his wife and three kids back to live in his hometown seven years ago, and it’s why he’s running for a spot on Armstrong council.

“I’m at the point in my life now, with a young family and knowing Armstrong is where we want to be situated for a long time, that it would be a good idea to be involved in the decision-making process for what’s going on in the community,” said Drapala, a high school math and science teacher with the North Okanagan Shuswap School District who also has a background in environmental consulting.

“Any environmental reports or development that comes forward, I can help council understand them and provide my expertise there.”

Drapala said he has no particular agenda going into the campaign, just that he wants to bring a new perspective to the council table.

The same with Gil Melin.

A resident of Armstrong for the past 14 years, Melin said he has no agenda or platform, only that he feels he could serve the city well.

“My  wife and I both  work  in Armstrong and we  love it,” said Melin, a hockey, golf, music, camping and RV enthusiast whose advice to voters is “Don’t forget to bring two forms of ID to vote.”

“Our children are grown and gone and I feel that I have the time and the inclination to give back something to the community.”

Linda Werner also has the time and inclination to give something back to her community as she is retired.

If elected to a seat on Armstrong council, Werner – a resident of the city since 1971 – said she’d bring a strong work ethic as well as an ability to work closely with others to the table.

“I now have the time to listen to ideas, research proposed projects and see projects to the end. I am skilled at working well with others and am a team player,” said Werner, who has two children and three grandkids who all live in Armstrong.

“My main priorities for the city are revitalize the downtown core and to keep developing Memorial Park.”

Werner is a volunteer, belonging to various organizations helping out where she can.

The longest has been with the Armstrong Lions Club where Werner has been vice-president, president, secretary, bingo chair and a member of the scholarship committee.

She is currently a volunteer driver assisting citizens to various medical appointments.

Being hit hard by the recession caused Robert Thibeau and his wife to re-enter the work force in 2009, both landing employment with 7-Eleven.

A resident of Armstrong since 2006, Thibeau became known in the community for his battle with the current council over the installations of water meters, something he believes was done against the majority of residents’ wishes.

“To this end, I would like to see an entirely new council voted in,” said Thibeau, who ran unsuccessfully for a council seat in 2011.

Among his top priorities, if elected, Thibeau said he would enact a recall bylaw where Armstrong citizens could remove politicians not abiding by the wishes of the majority, and enact a bylaw allowing residents to vote yes or no to council salary increases.