The Kutenai Landing sales office is being taken away from its current location.

Liberals and crash Landings

Word that Creston town councillor Wes Graham may seek the Nelson-Creston Liberal nomination should come as a relief to party members.

Word that Creston town councillor Wes Graham may seek the Nelson-Creston Liberal nomination should come as a relief to local party members.

Until now, interest in the job sounded a lot like chirping crickets.

Graham, 31, has been on the executive of the Union of BC Municipalities and Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments, and last year sought the federal Conservative nomination in Kootenay-Columbia.

He’s also had a public spat with New Democrat MLA Michelle Mungall, criticizing her for not attending a local government conference. (You can read her response here.)

But at this point it’s hard to imagine anything other than a landslide re-election for Mungall. (This despite the Nelson-Creston Greens nominating a very credible candidate in Sjeng Derkx.)

An Adrian Dix supporter from early in his leadership bid, Mungall could be in line for a cabinet post come next spring. So, for that matter, could Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy, re-elected in 2009 in one of the biggest margins in BC.

THE $125 EXPENSE CLAIM: Expect an acquittal in the case of Cst. Kelly Barrie, the former New Denver Mountie charged with falsifying an expense claim.

While Judge Ron Fabbro insisted he was not telegraphing his decision during the one-day trial last week, he poked some holes in the Crown’s case.

The prosecution admits a charge of false pretense is weaker than one of fraud, but even the latter leaves plenty of room for reasonable doubt.

Barrie’s greater error, arguably, was trying to cover up the fact she had spent time with her fiancé, Cst. Sam Nakatsu, in violation of his bail conditions following a domestic dispute. But that’s not what she was on trial for.

It’s difficult to understand why this case was pursued in criminal court over $125 that was never paid out, even if police officers are expected to be held to a higher standard than the rest of us.

How much has been spent in legal fees and court time?

KUTENAI LANDING CRASHES: The Kutenai Landing sales office is being removed, further evidence the proposed condo development is dead.

It was almost 11 years ago that West Kootenay Boundary MLA Sandy Santori arrived in Nelson to announce a local consortium had outbid Walmart for the VSA lands next to the Chahko Mika Mall.

I’m sure none of them, including former mayor Dave Elliott, would have imagined the land would still be vacant today.

While Kutenai Landing had many critics, in the end, a combination of market forces and mounting financial problems for Kamloops developer Mike Rink torpedoed the project, rather than protests.

Last year, listings for the property were pulled when Rink’s New Future Group sought bankruptcy protection. Things are now in the hands of a mortgage company.

Go to the project’s website at kutenailanding.com these days and you’ll find something written in Korean.

Meanwhile, remember the freedom-of-information request a citizens group filed in 2007 for all of the city’s material on the project?

They balked when presented with a $1,500 bill. Five years later, that package is still waiting to be picked up at City Hall.

ADMINISTRATOR MERRY-GO-ROUND: The Regional District of Central Kootenay has named Brian Carruthers its new administrator.

The Williams Lake city manager replaces Jim Gustafson, who is retiring after five years. Before that, Gustafson held the top job in Castlegar for 13 years.

Meanwhile, former Nelson city manager Victor Kumar is retiring in Rossland, where he has held the same job since late 2009.

Kumar’s tenure in both communities was rocky at times, although in between he had less controversial stints in Prince Rupert and Grand Forks.

While he resigned in June, Rossland council kept it secret — along with the appointment of his replacement, Grand Forks treasurer Cecile Arnott — until this month.

Greg Nesteroff is a reporter at the Nelson Star. He can be reached at reporter2@nelsonstar.com.

 

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