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Veteran Vernon councillor won’t seek re-election

Juliette Cunningham served three terms as councillor, and once ran for mayor, finishing second
Vernon councillor Juliette Cunningham, named Vernon Women In Business’ Vernon Woman of the Year in 2016, is leaving municipal politics. (Keylight Photography)

Calling it a difficult decision after a few months of consideration, Juliette Cunningham will not seek a return to Vernon council in the Oct. 20 municipal election.

Cunningham has served three terms as a councillor. She also ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2008, losing to Wayne Lippert.

“It has been my privilege to serve as a councillor for 10 years and I want to thank those citizens who supported me,” said Cunningham, also the chairperson of the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee.

“I especially want to thank my husband Dave and daughter Nicole, for without their support I could not have dedicated the amount of time invested in my work as city councillor, regional district director and GVAC chair.”

RELATED: Cunningham to continue as GVAC chair

During her tenure, Cunningham listed an improved master water plan with a responsible funding strategy, an adopted master cultural plan which is being implemented under the guidance of the greater community, the twinning of Kal Tire Place, acquisition of the Okanagan Rail Trail, restructuring of recreation services with Vernon assuming responsibility and the devolution of parks with Vernon taking control of its local parks as her significant accomplishments.

“It is no secret that I have been a champion of community development and am proud that city council has recognized the value of social planning and the services it provides to the city, including programs and initiatives to address homelessness, childcare, attainable housing, and many more,” she said.

“I also initiated our participation in the Cities Fit for Children conference in 2017 and the Draft Youthful Vernon Strategy which was presented to council in April.”

RELATED: Cunningham named woman of the year

Cunningham said one of council’s biggest achievements is the 1.9 per cent infrastructure levy, started in 2013 which, after 10 years, will see the city spending $7 million on the renewal of its aging infrastructure.

Public lake access, investment in transit and a community economic development initiative with the Okanagan Indian Band are also accomplishments for council that Cunningham strongly supports and hope to see continue in the next four years.

“Citizens of Vernon, thank you for showing your support for me through the previous three elections,” said Cunningham.

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