Colleen Anderson will be running again in the upcoming local government election, though this time she’ll have her sights set on the mayor’s chair.
The two-term Sicamous councillor said it’s time for a change and a different face representing the community.
“Don’t get me wrong, (Mayor) Terry (Rysz) has done a great job and this council, all in all, I think we’ve done a really good job,” said Anderson. “I think it’s important for us to stay progressive and keep forging forward and looking for opportunities for our community. I’m up for the task.
“It’s time for a change. I’d like to represent females more. We need more females in politics. Unless you’re stepping up to the plate, you’re not going to encourage them to jump in.”
Anderson has lived in the community for 16 years and has been a councillor since 2014. She said housing will be a priority if elected, including seniors housing.
“We really need to sit down and have a think tank about this… Attainable housing, which we’re working on right now, will definitely help,” said Anderson. “We’ve got projects on the go right now down Hillier Road where there’s affordable modular homes. And perhaps we find a developer that we can work with that either does duplexes or smaller apartment style…
“There’s lots of options; I think we just need to pinpoint what our best direction is and do it.”
Other priorities for Anderson include the Bruhn Bridge replacement as well as the construction of a bridge at Main Street, the Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail and the Shuswap Healing Centre.
“The roll out of that was poorly done, the communication was poorly done,” said Anderson of the healing centre.
Anderson said some people mistakenly determined the healing centre would be a rehabilitation facility, which she stressed is not the case. She said it is part of an effort to keep health-care services in Sicamous.
“That was our goal to start with, to make sure we kept our health-care centre in Sicamous for our residents… We worked very hard to figure out a way to buy that practice (on Finlayson) and move it forward, and now that we’ve hired doctors, we recognize the need for a bigger facility,” said Anderson, adding it was fortunate the district could partner with the Splatsin Band and acquire grant money to create what will be a regional healing centre.
Tourism remains another major focus for Anderson. Overseeing the district council portfolio for tourism and development, Anderson said she spearheaded the community rebranding initiative and district website redesign. She’s also been a strong advocate of the Clean, Drain and Dry program to prevent invasive quagga and zebra mussels from getting into B.C.
“It’s making a lot of noise and making sure people are educated about the consequences,” said Anderson.
A hotel on the waterfront is something Anderson has wanted to see for a long while and is something she’d continue to pursue as mayor.
“I’d like to see more development in town. I’ve been here 16 years and part of my portfolio is hotels and we’ve yet to have a hotel on the water here and we’re a perfected location. I’m going to chase that.”
While looking forward to representing Sicamous as mayor, Anderson stressed council decisions aren’t made by one person, but as a group working together.
“This group is only as good as the people you put in those chairs and if they can work together well and get things moving, that’s exactly what you want in a council and mayor,” said Anderson. “Voting in people who are totally polar opposites, it gets a lot harder to get things done.”
The nomination period for the upcoming election begins on Tuesday, Aug. 30. Nomination packages are available at the Sicamous municipal hall, and at sicamous.ca. The local general election takes place on Oct. 15.
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