Race begins to fill Hansma’s chair

The publisher’s job won out over the mayor’s job.

The publisher’s job won out over the mayor’s job.

Spallumcheen Mayor Will Hansma announced Tuesday that after 15 years on council, including more than four terms as mayor, and after tussling with his decision in his mind,  he will not be seeking re-election in next month’s municipal vote.

“I was going back and forth between yes-no, yes-no, will I run, will I not,” said Hansma, who owns and publishes the Okanagan Advertiser newspaper based in Armstrong. “I can’t devote enough time to both jobs. Both are all-consuming and there’s only so much you can do.

“I think it’s (mayor) a job that needs to have as much attention as possible, and I need to spend all of my time looking after my business. It’s my main livelihood.”

Hansma was first elected to township council as a councillor in 1996. He became mayor in early 1998 after winning a byelection.

He called the decision to not seek a sixth term as mayor one of the toughest of his life.

“It was quite the task trying to determine whether I wanted to spend another term on council or not,” said Hansma. “It was a very difficult decision, one that took up a lot of my time over the last while. I just hope everybody understands why.

“I’ve had an incredible amount of support in the community. That’s the hardest thing to set aside, and made the decision very difficult.”

Under Hansma’s guidance, the township has received more than $200 million worth of infrastructure built by the province and federal government, and Hansma figures there’s been an equal investment from the business community during his time as mayor.

The last regular council meeting Hansma will chair will be Nov. 21. He’ll then turn over the reins to the new mayor Dec. 5.

The new mayor could be veteran Spall councillor Dave Brew, who also announced Tuesday his intention to run for mayor.

“I think I’ve had the experience around the council table, I’ve chaired parks and rec for approximately six years and council recently nominated me to sit on the regional district (North Okanagan board),” said Brew, retired but who tends to his Spallumcheen farm, when asked why he was throwing his hat in the ring.

“I also have the time to do it. I haven’t missed a meeting unless it’s because of the flu or something like that.

“I enjoy serving the public, Spall’s a great area and I hope to keep it that way.”

Brew has served the township as councillor for three full terms. He was elected to a fourth term but did not serve due to illness at the time.

One other person has filed papers to run for mayor, but township administration, citing past practises, will not divulge who has filed until the end of the nomination period, which is Friday at 4 p.m.

Municipal elections are slated for Saturday, Nov. 19.