Gilroy ready to get back in the saddle

Jack Gilroy runs for position on Vernon council, following three-year absence

Jack Gilroy wants his council seat back.

The two-term Vernon councillor announced Thursday he has taken out his papers and plans to run for one of the six seats in the Nov. 15 municipal election.

“I have missed it,” said Gilroy, 65. “I’ve missed the people and there’s some unfinished business that has to be settled like the race track (Kin). That’s something that has to be settled.”

The Regional District of North Okanagan and  the City of Vernon, which both own Kin Race Track, have been involved in legal action with the Okanagan Equestrian Society since the society was evicted from the Kin Race Track property in 2010.

Gilroy, a former deputy fire chief with Vernon Fire Rescue Services, was first elected to council in 2005 and served two consecutive three-year terms.

He lost his seat by 35 votes in the 2011 election to Mary-Jo O’Keefe, who has announced she’ll seek the mayor’s chair being vacated in November by Rob Sawatzky.

Gilroy has served with current councillors O’Keefe, Bob Spiers and Juliette Cunningham.

“I really think the infrastructure is going the right way, what the councillors are doing now,” said Gilroy.

While there could be a mix of new and old faces on council following November’s vote, Gilroy believes experience should be considered by voters.

“It’s up to the public who they elect but it’s great to have people with experience,” he said. “It takes the first two years in council to learn things like legislative stuff, things the public don’t even think about.

“You make decisions based on legislation, not just what people want.”

Gilroy came to Vernon to play junior hockey as a goalie in the late 1960s with the Vernon Essos, and never left.

He has raised his family in Vernon and, now that he’s retired, Gilroy has the time to commit to council.

“I’ve got the time to do it, and I’d like to represent the people for another four years,” he said.

Former councillor Shawn Lee, who lost his seat along with Gilroy in 2011, is running again in November, as at least two seats will be up for grabs with O’Keefe running for mayor, and the vacancy left by the death in January of councillor Patrick Nicol.

Former councillor Klaus Tribes and economist Victor Cumming have announced plans to run for mayor.