Incumbents taste victory at CSRD

There will be familiar faces representing the Shuswap at the Columbia Shuswap Regional District Board table

There will be familiar faces representing the Shuswap at the Columbia Shuswap Regional District Board table.

Area E Rural Sicamous-Malakwa director Rhona Martin will mark her 24th year on the board and says she is happy to be doing so.

Martin won in all five polls, receiving 229 votes over opponent Dan Letendre, who got 70. Support for Martin was particularly strong in Malakwa where she picked up 128 votes to Letendre’s total of 30.

“I think I have a pretty clear message of support from the people. I am just very pleased,” she said. “I am grateful and I have to say it’s been a long time since I’ve had to campaign.”

Martin said she used the campaign as an opportunity to go to at least 96 per cent of the doors in her constituency.

“I walked around and got to see what’s happening on the ground, and that’s a good thing sometimes,” said the elated director Saturday night. “People asked me questions and some had issues to do with their own places so they could show it to me.”

Of concern to Martin is the fact she met a lot of people who were surprised they could vote if they were renters. Others told her they thought they couldn’t vote because they don’t live in town (Sicamous).

“I don’t know how we’re gonna get that message out, but we have to make sure  people are aware of the process,” she said. “A lot of people asked what I’ve been working on and some asked me to come into their house and explain what a regional district does.”

Paul Demenok was in a celebratory mood Saturday night, winning in five out of six  polls with 714 votes to opponent Allan McClelland’s 459. Richard Norman, who had tried to withdraw from the race, got 46 votes.

The vote at Sorrento Memorial Hall gave McClelland a small win with 136 votes to Demenok’s 124. The busiest poll was Cedar Centre, where Demenok picked up a substantial lead, taking 367 votes to McClelland’s 250.

“It was great to see more voters participate in 2014 than 2011– that’s good,” said Demenok on Monday, applauding the “exceptional” efforts of his volunteers. “I am particularly grateful to see strong support for my platform. It will be an honour and a privilege to serve this community for the next four years.”

What surprised Demenok was the degree of misunderstanding about what the CSRD does or doesn’t do.

“People were confused by which level of government does what,” he said. “The  most frequent complaint I heard was about roads. The rural roads budget is not substantial enough to do the job.”

Columbia Shuswap Regional District Area D Falkland/Salmon Valley/Ranchero director Rene Talbot expressed relief at winning another term.

“I am glad it’s over, one way or the other,” he said. “It’s also nice to come out on top and I want to thank all the people who went out and voted.”

Talbot won with 280 votes, while newcomer Kelly Stalker picked up 184 nods. Stalker beat Talbot in Salmon Valley, getting 41 votes to his 30, but Talbot took a resounding win, 158 to 87, in Falkland where he lives.

“I’d like to congratulate the woman that ran against me; she did quite well,” said Talbot at the close of the polls.

As he prepares for the four-year term, Talbot is looking forward to the Gardom Lake Management plan that gets underway next week, although he’s cranky that Ottawa refused to ante up, leaving him to raid his gas tax funds.

Acknowledging he never does well in the Salmon Valley, Talbot said work is being done on a parallel trail (to Salmon Valley Road), so it’s ready to go when appropriate funding opportunities become available.

Talbot also has a beef with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“Every couple of years (MOTI) come to the board,” he said. “I always put my hand up  to bring up rural roads but the ministry only worries about Highway 1 and 97.”

On a more cheerful note, Talbot says he was grateful to the number of people who helped with his campaign.

 

“It would be hard to do it without them.”

 

 

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