The last four years, said incumbent Spallumcheen councillor Christine LeMaire, have been about dedication, focus, determination, appreciation, excitement.
LeMaire had a revelation for the crowd of 30 at the township all-candidates forum at Armstrong’s Centennial Hall when she added a sixth word to her list – surprise.
“I’m surprised I’m here before you today wanting to do this for another four years,” said LeMaire, first elected to township council in 2014.
LeMaire, Todd York, Joe Van Tienhoven, Gerry Popoff, Andrew Casson and John Bakker are hoping to survive a challenge from Carolyn Farris on Oct. 15 to remain at the township council table, working alongside acclaimed mayor Christine Fraser.
Being on council, said LeMaire, takes dedication and focus.
“There are a lot of hours spent reading and listening, attending meetings and standing your ground for what you feel is right for your community,” she said. “It takes a determined group of people to ensure that the vision for the community becomes a reality as there are many obstacles to overcome.”
York, who turned 60 on Sept. 27, is the elder statesman of council, having served for the past 17 years. In the decade-plus he’s been on council York has learned that an open mind, along with other factors, makes a person a good councillor.
“You can’t be a single-issue person,” he said. “You have to have a common sense view of short- and long-term issues. You have to have the ability as a group to pull together and achieve those goals.
“Ultimately, I’ve learned that this position is about communication, and it’s about relationship building with our neighbouring communities and senior governments.”
Van Tienhoven and his family fell in love with the township when they came as visitors, then moved to the North Okanagan in 1990.
He began a stint with the Armstrong Kin Club as a volunteer, then joined the Armstrong Spallumcheen Fire Department, and stayed with them for 20 years before transitioning to council in 2011.
“We’re all passionate about this community,” said Van Tienhoven. “It’s a real privilege to be on council and help shape this community.”