Lumby mayoralty race heats up

The race is on in Lumby.

The race is on in Lumby.

Jim McEwan has added his name to the ballot, running for mayor against incumbent Kevin Acton.

McEwan, 53, is the executive director of the Funtastic Sports Society and vice president of the Greater Vernon 2012 Winter Games.

“I think Lumby’s got a ton of potential,” said McEwan, who moved to Whitevale nearly five years ago from Calgary.

With a background in business development and marketing, McEwan believes he is a strong candidate to help showcase the region and build it to its potential.

“I look at the industrial land that is available, I look at all the experience of the people in that community,” said McEwan, an advocate of open government that listens to its citizens. “You draw on all that.”

He is also eager to strengthen and unite the community, which he says has been divided in the past year and a half – particularly over the prison issue.

“I wouldn’t suggest that Lumby is an ideal place to have a prison,” said McEwan. “They (government) have never put a prison in that small of a community.”

Incumbent mayor Acton admits that there are residents who are not happy with him for suggesting the idea of putting a prison in Lumby. And therefore the prison will likely be an election issue whether the village gets the prison or not.

But the 44-year-old, who has been assured that the government will make a decision before the election, adds: “I gave Lumby the choice, I didn’t make the choice.”

While the pair of candidates may stand on separate ground on the prison issue, they do share a common goal to better the community.

Acton’s goal, if elected, is to examine ways of utilizing the region’s forests, not just for lumber, but perhaps other uses like astringents.

“This town has been a forestry town since the mining stopped and it’s not there for us anymore,” said the self-employed massage therapist, who raised his three teenage boys in Lumby.

“What I’d really like to see is some diversification so we’re not relying on one industry.”

The former paramedic is pleased with the work he and his council have accomplished so far – including acquiring senior’s housing so residents can stay in Lumby, building on discussions for a possible road to Silver Star and working out policing problems.