For the second time in three election cycles, the Mayor of Oliver has been acclaimed.
Martin Johansen will remain in the role for another term after being the only registered candidate ahead of the Oct. 15 election.
“It was a pleasant surprise and maybe shows that I’m doing a good job and people are happy with what I’m doing in the community,” the town’s mayor told Black Press. “I wasn’t anticipating somebody not to put their name in (the race).”
Johansen was first elected in 2018, defeating Ronald Hovanes, who was acclaimed himself in 2014.
Though always a priority, the mayor says tackling the issues associated with health care is more critical now than it was four years ago.
“It was still an issue then but we all know it’s becoming more of an issue these days, so that’s a big one for me,” he said.
Johansen sat with B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix on June 1 to discuss the challenges facing his community. It was a 40-minute meeting described as “solution-based,” and one where Oliver’s mayor asked Dix to keep an open mind whenever local health-related ideas were presented to the province.
“We didn’t have to spend a lot of time talking about the problems in Oliver and the problems in health care,” Johansen recalled. “I wasn’t there to complain about things…I just asked for some flexibility and an open mind when I come back with ideas, and that was definitely there.”
Johansen and Dix are set to follow up on their early-summer meeting on Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 14, at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities Convention in Whistler.
The pieces of the puzzle are in place for Oliver to be successful over the next four years, the mayor says. Downtown revitalization, public-safety improvements, untapped economic opportunity with the local airport and the construction of affordable housing were among the referenced items.
“I think we’ll get more done this term than we did the last term,” Johansen said. “All that learning I’ve had in the last four years is going to help get things off the ground quicker.”
Though the town’s mayor is acclaimed, a total of eight people will battle over four council spots in the fall election:
• Aimee Grice (incumbent)
• Kelly Long
• Leigh Lougheed
• David Mattes (incumbent)
• Terry Schafer (served on council before 2018)
• Charles Simpson
• Keith Quesnelle
• Petra Veintimilla (incumbent)