RDCK candidates respond

Regional District of Central Kootenay: The Nelson Star posed a pair of questions to candidates running for rural director.

  • Nov. 9, 2014 11:00 a.m.

The Nelson Star contacted candidates running for positions on the Regional District of Central Kootenay board and asked them to answer two questions regarding the November 15 civic election.

The two questions are:

1. Why are you running?

2. What do you feel is the biggest issue of this election?


Donna Cormie

1. I’m running for Area D Director because I believe the voters should have a choice in who represents them for the next four years.

2. Area D, like every other district, has issues. The one that unites us all in Area D and Kaslo is the lack of 24/7 emergency care. I believe that the current model for delivery of health care is not working. An alternate model is in place and working in New Denver where 24/7 emergency service is available.

As Meadow Creek Cedar Products increases production more workers will be hired, hopefully bringing young families with children to Jewett School (current enrolment 12).

One way that we can help more of us do better is to look at co-operative social enterprise, profitable businesses.  These types of ventures can be especially helpful to stay at home rural women. I believe that rural women have the skills to create employment for themselves and I want to help. I will support existing home-based business and cottage Industry-type endeavours.

Aimee Watson

1. My approach to running for public office is that I will work for the people that elect me. I believe that government must be the administrator of residents’ needs, such as providing services for water, removing waste, maintaining parks, repairing roads and so on.

My job is to listen, to find the common ground and represent community members where decisions are made. I make informed decisions after hearing all sides to best inform solutions. I feel strongly that we need to act within a framework of sustainability that accounts for the generations down the road.

2. The biggest issue as far as what threatens the viability of our region is the loss of 24/7 health care. Being on the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District Board for the past three years, its clear that lives cannot be based on a business model designed for a balanced budget in Victoria. We must have access to 24/7 emergency care. Residents in the Lardeau Valley facing up to 3.5 hours to an emergency center, in good weather conditions, is completely unacceptable.

Economic development is also top of the list. My position here is that we have a niche community that can be sustainably capitalized on. Capturing unique business ideas that enhance our natural geography and skill set as a rural region is an area of much interest to urbanites.


Ramona Faust

1. It’s been a privilege to represent the community and to see citizens in Area E become empowered to set goals and achieve outcomes. There is still more work to do on serious issues such as wildland forest fuel reduction, rural seniors needs, tourism development, the Nelson and District Community Complex, climate change adaptation, supporting a strong economy and ecology and participating in the West Kootenay Boundary regional hospital board.

I am fiscally conservative and socially progressive. I believe those are attributes that will serve the greater region as well as Area E. There has been a lot of good work done at the board table over the past few years and I would like to be a part of seeing some of our projects through to the end.

2. I believe the biggest issue is the need for collaboration on significant problems and opportunities. It’s not logical that we will all agree on every issue nor that we will share the same philosophy but if we can have informed and civil discourse and identify those things we agree on as a region then I believe we can improve the lives of our citizens.

Rick Marken

The decision to run for director of Area E was not easy. While I am very content with my business, family and community I found myself and others complaining about everything from taxes to purchasing goods and services out of the area.

I could see trends out of sync with the needs of the community.

One day, I was at the front counter receiving information from staff of the RDCK. Service was excellent but I observed a bustle of activity which prompted me to inquire about how busy they were and about their priorities.

It seems they have a lot of work and a lot of duties.

Perhaps I could help initiate priorities.

My decision was made; I feel my management skills and experience are needed.

My goal is to help create a sustainable and resilient community where we can continue to enjoy arts, culture, recreational opportunities and all the benefits of our diverse and vibrant community.

I clearly see we need priorities and efficiencies, accountability for our tax dollars and transparency by the people instigating initiatives.


Kevin LePape

1. I am running because there is a need for a strong, clear voice at the Board table to work for improved transparency and responsiveness by the RDCK. Transparency means informing the people about future projects, actively seeking public input, providing timely and accurate financial disclosure including required taxation.

It is a fundamental right of all citizens to have this information easily available to them. The RDCK is our government and needs to be better serving its people in order to encourage engagement. It must make better effort to support our goals and aspirations through its economic activity and service provision. We all need to work together and this must start with the RDCK itself.

2. The biggest issue of this election for Area F (and most rural areas) is keeping a lid on taxation. The RDCK must recognize the burden faced by many families by the requirement to have small water systems meet BC regulations (upfront from $2,000 to $5,000 per connection and $500-plus per year for maintenance). In the face of this the RDCK has an obligation and duty to not further burden families. Fire protection and water system grants are the priority, everything else must fit within a zero-tax increase budget. Savings must come from within the RDCK itself.

Tom Newell

1. I am running for Area F director because I have a passion for being involved and supporting people. I have been secretary of our water users group for many years now. Professionally my career has been in social housing, high school counseling/teaching and as president of the Nelson District Teachers’ Association. I want to take that expertise to my local government.

2. The biggest issue in the Area F election is one of leadership. My leadership style is one that is positive, inclusive, and collaborative. I find what is working and build on those strengths. Leadership is about observing and listening, prioritizing, finding the proper resources and then moving toward a better outcome.

It is imperative that our Area F director have a proven record of being able to build trusting relationships. Our director will be working in partnership with all the other representatives at the RDCK table and the RDCK staff.

These are the proven attributes that I bring to the directorship.

With that leadership in place then the emergent issues, (whether they are, protecting public spaces; developing more comprehensive regional transit links; improving our waste management system, etc.) will be developed in a comprehensive, fiscally responsible and sensible way.


Hans Cunningham

1. Looking forward to the 2014 election, I decided to run again because there are many important issues, some new, others long standing, facing the regional district. I feel that my knowledge and experience working in the local government area and working with the other orders of government are great assets in resolving these problems to the benefit of the people we serve.

2. The question asked was “What is the biggest issue?” However, there are many big issues. For rural directors, the spectre of reduced fire coverage areas and greatly increased fire insurance rates is a large issue. Land use planning, provincial government downloading, effects of the implementation of the new marijuana regulations upon local government, the Columbia River Treaty review, and ambulance service adequacy are only a few of the larger issues facing us.

Of course, efficient operation of present regional district services are of paramount importance. We are lucky to have a new CAO with a background in the private sector financial area to assist the new board in ensuring efficient operation of all the 160 plus services the regional district provides. I believe my background and experience will be of benefit and I ask the support of the people I serve.

Werner Kraus



1. Because I wanted to give people in Area G a choice in this election.

2. For me, the biggest issue in Area G, and I can’t speak to the other areas, is to replace Hans Cunningham with a more suitable representative and that’s me.