By ROY WOOD
A crowded field of 10 candidates, including two incumbents, will compete for the four town council spots available in Osoyoos.
Mayor Sue McKortoff, meanwhile, likely won’t have to dig her lawn signs out of storage as her only competition is frequent comic-relief candidate Doug Pederson, who in 2014 received 51 votes to McKortoff’s 1,285. Pederson also ran as an independent in the 2013 provincial election, garnering 375 votes, more than 8,000 behind winner Linda Larson.
Seeking to hold their council spots are CJ Rhodes and Jim King. Councillors Carol Youngberg and Mike Campol are not seeking re-election after one term each.
Rhodes is the senior member of council, having first taken his seat at in 2008 and holding it comfortably in 2011 and 2014. (Following the 2014 election, the interval for civic elections went from three years to four.)
Rhodes owns a local small business. As a councillor he is vocal and passionate about issues that matter to him. He occasionally uses the time allotted at council meetings for “councillors’ reports” for what he refers to his “rants,” on topics as diverse as the pleasant aroma of marijuana smoke and the gentle personalities of pit bulls.
King is a former small business owner who is involved in Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce. He is an active councillor who seems to delight in attending all manner of civic events. At council meetings, King is one of the quieter members who often is the one trying to find the middle-ground compromise on controversial issues.
King was elected for the first time in 2014, having finished just out the money in his first run for a seat in 2011.
Myers Bennett is an about-to-retire business insurance salesperson with Valley First Credit Union. He is active in Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce. He has had broad experience as a small business owner and served two three-year terms on the council in Vanderhoof “about 20 years ago.”
Brian Harvey is a lawyer practising in Osoyoos. He is listed as vice-commodore of the Osoyoos Sailing Club. He filed his papers on Friday and could not be reached before deadline.
Shelley McIntyre moved to Osoyoos about two years ago. She works as a dental receptionist in town and sees being a councillor as a way to continue her life-long work as a volunteer.
Jane Long is a well-known local accountant who also owns the Desert Babies Boutique. Long says her wide network of contacts in Osoyoos has given her a broad perspective on what residents want and need from their local government.
Sy Murseli is a self-styled “council watchdog” whose most recent cause has been what he sees as the unreliability of electronic vote counting technology. He has run in at least the four previous civic elections, finishing sixth in 2014 and eighth in 2011, 2008 and 2005.
Kenny G. Music is a recently retired Canada Post supervisor who, before that, was the manager of the Squamish Chamber of Commerce. He says he has an “ongoing passion for public service.” He does not play the soprano saxophone.
Egon Nielsen filed his papers on Friday and couldn’t be reached before deadline. There is no information about him on line.
Sherani Theophilus works part-time at the Sandy Beach Motel. She is a board member of the South Okanagan Similkameen Mental Wellness Society and currently is attempting to create a peer support group in Osoyoos. She says she has been “wanting to do something like this,” for some time and decided that she doesn’t want to wait four more years.
For the first time that almost anyone can remember, there will be an election for water councillor. Water councillors are sort of auxiliary members of council who represent residents of the Osoyoos Rural Water District Systems 8 and 9. They sit in council meetings, but may only vote on “Water Matters.”
Usually the positions are acclaimed, but this time round incumbents Claude Moreira and Sarabjit Rai are being challenged by Kuldeep Dhaliwal.
There will be a three-person race for the two Osoyoos seats on the Okanagan-Similkameen school board. Incumbent Casey Brouwer will face challenges from Penny Duperron and Brenda Dorosz.
Brouwer was elected in a by-election in November 2016 following the resignation of long-time trustee June Harrington. He is an employee of the town of Osoyoos Operational Services Department. He is member of the local fire department and an ordained minister.
Dorosz spent some time leading up to the nomination deadline deciding between running for council or school board but ultimately chose to seek a seat as a school trustee. Dorosz is best known in Osoyoos as the face of the Save Our School committee, which fought the closure of Osoyoos Secondary in spring 2016. This is not her first political foray, having unsuccessfully sought the NDP nomination in Boundary-Similkameen in October 2016.
Duperron is making a second run at a school board seat. She finished second to Brouwer in the 2016 by-election. The former teacher’s aide and substitute kindergarten teacher challenged the result of that vote on the grounds that there should have been two, not one, advance polls. She took her fight to the BC Supreme Court but lost.
The election in Osoyoos takes place on Saturday, October 20 between 8 am and 8 pm at the Sonora Community Centre. Advance polls are scheduled for Wednesday, October 10 and Wednesday, October 17 from 8-to-8 at the council chamber at the town hall.