COLUMN: A selection of local election reflections

COLUMN: A selection of local election reflections

Observations on West Kootenay/Boundary election races following Friday’s close of nominations

By Greg Nesteroff

Vital and not-so-vital observations about next month’s local government elections following the close of nominations on Friday:

PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF?: Win or lose, Pat Mackle and Andy Shadrack have fascinating electoral scorecards.

They’re running against each other and incumbent Suzan Hewat for mayor of Kaslo.

Over the last 22 years, Shadrack has run for office 11 times and at every level: for MP (twice), MLA (twice, in two different ridings), mayor (twice, including this time), councillor (once), and rural regional director (four times). He was successful at the latter level, serving three consecutive terms on the Regional District of Central Kootenay board.

He stood for office annually between 1996 and 2000, provincially, federally, and municipally, and ran twice in 2005, first unsuccessfully for MLA and then successfully for regional director.

He also lost the Nelson-Creston provincial Green nomination in 2000 (finishing second among three candidates, behind Colleen McCrory) and lost his bid to become leader of the provincial Green Party the same year (also finishing second out of three, behind Adriane Carr). He wanted to seek the Nelson-Creston Green Party nomination in 2016 but the party denied his bid, for undisclosed reasons.

Mackle served as a councillor in Kaslo from 1990-93 and was mayor from 1993-96. He has since run for mayor in seven more general elections and one by-election in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014, and 2018. (He sat out the 2002 election.)

Mackle also sought the provincial Green Party nomination in 2000 — and finished third behind Shadrack.

Hewat, who was elected to council in 2005 and became Kaslo’s second female mayor in 2014, also has an interesting distinction: her father-in-law, R.F. Hewat, served on Kaslo council from 1967-71, while his grandfather Ronald Hewat was a Kaslo councillor in 1939 and 1942.

POLITICAL COMEBACKS: Gary Wright, who spent 22 years as mayor of New Denver before retiring in 2011, is seeking a councillor’s seat.

There is plenty of precedent in our area for former mayors to serve as councillors, among them Gerald Rotering in Nelson, Merle Hanson in Salmo, Jackie Drysdale in Rossland, Madeleine Perriere and Burly Van Bynen in Slocan, Sandy Santori in Trail, and Mike Walsh and Don Berriault in Montrose. The last five are all candidates again in this election. Walsh is running for mayor after serving in that role from 1996 to 2005 and as a councillor since 2014.

TWO FOR ONE: One candidate is seeking two jobs: Aidan McLaren-Caux is running for both Nakusp village council and Arrow Lakes school district. This is not unprecedented either. In fact, Paul Peterson served simultaneously as an Arrow Lakes school trustee and Area K director on the Regional District of Central Kootenay board.

In 2014, Gord Zaitsoff ran for both mayor of Castlegar and Area J director on the RDCK. He was the incumbent for the latter position, but lost both races. Also that year, Jared LeBlanc ran unsuccessfully for both mayor of Creston and regional director of RDCK Area B.

ADMINISTRATORS TURNED POLITICIANS: Two retired village administrators are seeking seats in municipalities where they once worked: Lila Cresswell is running for Fruitvale council and Bob Lafleur is running for mayor of Nakusp.

In Creston, retired town manager Bill Hutchinson is running against Ron Toyota for a second time. Toyota won handily in 2014.

TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Most mayoral candidates among West Kootenay/Boundary municipalities: Nelson, Castlegar, Trail, and Grand Forks, with three each.

Fewest mayoral candidates: Rossland and Slocan, where Kathy Moore and Jessica Lunn have respectively been re-elected by acclamation.

Most council candidates: Nelson (21), followed by Rossland (14), Grand Forks (13), Castlegar (11), and Nakusp (10). Nelson has enough candidates to stock three separate councils and still have three people left over.

The last such bumper crop was 2002 when there were six for mayor and 20 for council. The latter included Deb Kozak and Robin Cherbo, neither of whom were elected. However, present Nelson-Creston MLA and energy minister Michelle Mungall was elected, becoming the city’s youngest-ever councillor at 24.

Fewest council candidates: Midway, where all four councillors have been elected by acclamation, although there is a race for mayor. All five Regional District of Kootenay Boundary rural directors have also been re-elected by acclamation.

Rural electoral area with the most candidates: Regional District of Central Kootenay Area C (rural Creston), where Larry Binks, who was acclaimed in 2014, faces three challengers: Tony Mulder, Elvin Rempel, and incumbent Creston town councillor Adam Casemore.

School district wards with the most candidates: Trail and rural Creston, where in each case three people are seeking two seats; rural Grand Forks, where three people are chasing one seat; and the Arrow Lakes school board, where four candidates are standing for two at-large positions.

ADDRESS BOOK: Of the 26 running or already acclaimed in Nelson for mayor, council, and school trustee, two list their address as Balfour, one as Six Mile, one as Four Mile, and one as Thrums.

The rest live within city limits: 11 in Uphill, four in Rosemont, three in Fairview, and three in the nebulous divide between Uphill and Fairview.

Local electoral history buff Greg Nesteroff is a former Nelson Star editor

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