Hansma seeks sixth stint as Spallumcheen mayor

The Township of Spallumcheen will have a mayoral race in the Nov. 15 municipal election

The Township of Spallumcheen will have a mayoral race in the Nov. 15 municipal election.

A familiar name announced late Tuesday he would be seeking a sixth term (nonconsecutive) as township mayor.

Will Hansma stepped down in 2011 after five terms to concentrate on his newspaper. He will join incumbent mayor Janice Brown on the ballot.

Former councillor Dave Brew, who lost the 2011 mayoral bid to Brown, has also said he is planning to run for mayor.

“I’m really concerned with the way things have been going,” said Hansma when asked why he decided to run again. “There are a lot of specific areas that concern me greatly.”

One such area is the amount of residential and industrial development within the township, saying such numbers are “at an all-time low.”

“The southeast sector is having difficulty in moving forward both in the residential and industrial component,” he said. “That affects the entire township. If you don’t have new growth, you have to rely on other means to try and bring in revenue to do the work required.”

Hansma also pointed to very little activity between the province and the township for infrastructure improvements and eliminating the township’s master water plan as reasons for throwing his hat in the ring.

He is also very upset with the way township farmers have been treated.

The township raised the Class 9 rate by more than double in 2014 to 11.179 from 5.1531 to counteract the effects of 2013’s Bill 8 where farmers enjoyed $120,000 of tax relief.

“For a municipality to take that away from them is unbelievable,” said Hansma, adding “30 per cent of viable farming in the North Okanagan is in Spallumcheen.

“You’d think you would look at how to sustain your farming community when you rely on it so heavily as the township does for its tax dollars, for the work, for the jobs it creates and the tax base it provides, but then you decide to double the taxation on the land to give them the ability to survive. And there’s no sign of council trying to rectify that.”