By Greg Nesteroff
The number of women running for office next month in West Kootenay/Boundary is up over 2014 but virtually identical to 2011.
A total of 94 women are seeking election in 16 municipalities, four school districts, and two regional districts, representing 43 per cent of the 217 total candidates.
Eleven are running for mayor (or are expected to be acclaimed), 49 for councillor, seven for regional district director (five will be acclaimed), and 27 for school trustee (12 are poised to be acclaimed).
By comparison, in 2014 85 women ran – 11 for mayor, 41 for councillor, nine for regional director and 24 for school trustee, which was 37 per cent of the 230 total candidates.
In 2011, 94 women ran – 10 for mayor, 48 for councillor, seven for regional director and 29 for school trustee, representing 42 per cent of 223 total candidates.
In 2014, seven women were elected mayors and 30 as councillors, while in 2011 six were elected mayor and 32 as councillors. In both years, six councils had a majority of women.
Overall in 2014, 62 women were elected as mayors, councillors, regional directors and school trustees (46 per cent of the total) compared to 64 in 2011. Nearly 73 per cent of women who ran for office in 2014 were elected, compared to 68 per cent in 2011.
This year 10 municipalities have at least one woman running for mayor, compared to eight in 2014.
The largest number of women running is in Nelson, where two are on the ballot for mayor and nine for council for a total of 11. In Nelson, Fruitvale, and Silverton, a majority of candidates are women.
In the Arrow Lakes school district, six out of seven candidates for trustee are women, and in the Boundary district, eight out of nine are.
Midway has the fewest women running: zero. It also tied for the fewest women running in 2014 with one.
The maximum number of women who could be elected in our region overall is 86 (in some places more women are running than there are seats): 10 as mayor, 46 as councillor, seven as regional director, and 23 as school trustee.
Presently, there are eight female mayors — in Nelson, Rossland, Slocan, New Denver, Nakusp, Kaslo, Warfield, and Fruitvale — representing an all-time high. At minimum, after this election there will be two, in Rossland and Slocan, where Kathy Moore and Jessica Lunn were respectively re-elected unopposed.
Trail could also elect its first female mayor if incumbent councillor Lisa Pasin is successful. She has two male challengers. Only one other woman has ever sought the job: Doris Robinson in 1922.
Trail is the only remaining West Kootenay/Boundary community that has not had a woman as mayor. Warfield elected its first female mayor in a 2017 by-election when Diane Langman defeated a male challenger. She was also profiled as B.C.’s youngest female mayor.
• The above takes into account the cities of Nelson, Castlegar, Trail, Rossland, Grand Forks, and Greenwood; the villages of Kaslo, Salmo, Slocan, Silverton, New Denver, Nakusp, Fruitvale, Montrose, Warfield, and Midway; the Regional District of Central Kootenay and Regional District of Kootenay Boundary; and the Kootenay Lake, Kootenay Columbia, Arrow Lakes, and Boundary school districts.
It does not include the Town of Creston or the part of West Kootenay that lies within the Regional District of Columbia Shuswap (Galena Bay, Beaton, and Trout Lake).