For the first time in nearly four decades, Paul Peterson’s name won’t be on a ballot for public office.
“I won’t be running in the next election,” the Area K Arrow Lakes RDCK director says. “I’m getting tired. The workload has doubled or tripled since I started.”
Peterson, who since the mid-1980s has sat in a few different seats as elected official – on New Denver Village council, the Arrow Lakes School District #10 board of trustees, and the board of directors of the Regional District of Central Kootenay – says it’s just too much now.
“I love working with my constituency. I’d stay on till I drop if that’s all it was,” he says. “But I’m just not in total agreement with the direction the Regional District is going in now.”
Across the province, municipal politicians – incumbents and wannabes – are deciding whether to throw their hat in the ring for a four-year term leading their communities. Local elections are being held on October 15, but the deadline for candidates to enter the race is tomorrow (September 9).
Peterson isn’t the only Arrow Lakes area politician calling it a day. Up the lake, two Nakusp Village councillors have also said they won’t run again.
“I have a few reasons for not running,” says Ken Miller. “The main one is a selfish one. I mostly just want my time to be on my own, with my family.”
Miller, who won in a byelection in July 2019 and had served on Nakusp council before, noted in the past most councillors were roughly the same age.
“It has been fun and interesting to work with a more diverse council,” he says. “There were a lot of different ideas and views brought forward but we still all seemed to be on the same path.”
Susan DeSandoli also announced she wasn’t running for Nakusp council again, either.
However, most politicians seem to be keeping their cards close to their chests until nominations close – the Valley Voice only received a handful of replies to an inquiry about incumbents’ intentions.
While some local leaders are passing on the torch, others are hoping to return to office.
In RDCK Area D, the northern part of Kootenay Lake, Aimee Watson will run again for director. She’s currently the chair of the RDCK board as well. In Area H, Walter Popoff has also said he’ll run again to represent the Slocan Valley.
In Kaslo, Mayor Suzan Hewat and Councillor Rob Lang have both filed their nomination papers. So has Dawn Lang, the incumbent local trustee for School District 8.
In the Village of Slocan, Mayor Jessica Lunn says she plans to run again.
“There are so many projects in process,” she says. “And I still very much have the passion, love and enthusiasm to support Slocan as we move through this pivotal time.”
Her thoughts are echoed by one of her councillors, Ezra Buller, who also says he’ll have his name on the ballot.
“I feel that I have become more comfortable and confident on council and hope to continue to represent the local Slocan constituents with open ears and a willing mind,” he says. “Slocan has a wonderful new feel and positive future, and I am looking forward to being a part of the process to make those dreams a reality.”
September 9 is the deadline for candidates to submit their nomination papers. When nominations close, the Valley Voice will invite all candidates to submit brief statements for publication in our September 22 issue. Should there be election races in the communities, we’ll cover any all-candidates meetings that are held.
John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice