Candidates running for a seat on the Columbia Shuswap Regional District board include (top left to right) Marty Gibbons and Nicholas Najda in Electoral Area C, Rene Talbot and Dean Trumbley in Electoral Area D, (middle) Leslie Johnson, Dan Letendre, Rhona Martin and Natalie Sorkilmo in Electoral Area E, and Eugene Eklund and Jay Simpson in Electoral Area F.

Candidates running for a seat on the Columbia Shuswap Regional District board include (top left to right) Marty Gibbons and Nicholas Najda in Electoral Area C, Rene Talbot and Dean Trumbley in Electoral Area D, (middle) Leslie Johnson, Dan Letendre, Rhona Martin and Natalie Sorkilmo in Electoral Area E, and Eugene Eklund and Jay Simpson in Electoral Area F.

Election 2022: Columbia Shuswap Regional District candidates introduce themselves

Four candidates running in race to represent Electoral Area E (Rural Sicamous-Malakwa)

As the Oct. 15 municipal election approaches, the Sicamous Eagle Valley News is giving Columbia Shuswap Regional District candidates an opportunity to share who they are and why they are running. (Acclaimed candidates Karen Cathcart, Area A; David Brooks-Hill, Area B; and Natalya Melnychuk, Area G are not included.)


Electoral Area C candidates

Marty Gibbons

I’m Marty Gibbons and I’m running for CSRD Area C Director.

I am proud to say my roots run deep in our community with my family calling Area C home for close to 40 years.

Since 2018 I have represented Areas C and F as your elected school trustee, successfully advocating for rural community access to student resources. I spearheaded several initiatives including increasing board transparency and inclusion of a new Sorrento high school in the long-range plan.

I have several professional designations and extensive board experience, including being a director and board vice chair of B.C.’s largest health-care benefit provider. As your representative I will use my extensive board experience to ensure proper oversight, drive efficiency and demand fiscal responsibility. With skyrocketing inflation and huge increases in property assessments, fiscal responsibility has never been more important.

We as a community are at a crossroads. I and many of my fellow residents feel our rural values are being eroded by a vocal minority seeking to transform our community with unnecessary regulation and bureaucracy. As your representative I will fight to protect rural values, support sustainable growth and keep bureaucracy to a minimum.

Vote Marty Gibbons CSRD Area C Director.

Nicholas Najda

Nicholas Najda is a father and husband who loves raising his family in the South Shuswap, Area C.

Nicholas is a community solutions consultant who works with small business, non-profits and government to find local solutions to local issues. His focus is on community-building to create a vibrant, sustainable place to live.

Nicholas studied psychology, sociology and business to earn his degree from Simon Fraser University.

At home, Nicholas and his family are developing a micro-farm and food forest on their property. His wife, Daniella, is a registered holistic nutritionist who runs a home-based health and wellness studio.

Nicholas believes volunteerism makes communities stronger. He currently sits on the CSRD Parks Advisory Committee, the Destination Trails Steering Committee, and he is the volunteer leader for the White Lake Water Quality Monitoring Program. His recent volunteer positions include vice president of White Lake Residents Association, founding board member of South Shuswap Housing Society, coordinator of a kids Wildsafe Rangers workshop for Area C and coordinator of a Kids Don’t Float kiosk at White Lake.

Nicholas pledges to use his skills, experience and common-sense values for the betterment of the entire Area C.


Electoral Area D candidates

Rene Talbot

My name is Rene Talbot and I have been a long time resident in the Falkland area since 1977.

I have sat on numerous boards and associations throughout the years, providing me much knowledge and enjoyment.

My recent role as CSRD Area D director has provided me the most extensive knowledge, not only of my area but also of my neighbours. The information I have been able to obtain over my last several terms has really opened my eyes to all the amazing groups, non-profits, associations, etc. They all have so much to offer.

The main reason I am running is, I would love the opportunity to serve them again so I can be a part of their growth and help them achieve their goals – not only for our current generations but the many generations to come.

Dean Trumbley

Dean was born in Vernon, B.C., and has resided in Falkland for the past 15 years.

Dean has had a very diverse career as a registered professional biologist (retired), corporate executive and television host. He has extensive experience in biology, governance, business, wildland/urban interface firefighting, public speaking and politics.

Some of the highlights of his career is being nominated twice for the Order of British Columbia, Business of the Year award, sitting on Canada’s top science board COSEWIC as a co-chair and being a Canadian delegate on the United Nation’s Environmental Program the Convention on Biological Diversity with 72 other member countries.

Dean’s platform for CSRD Area D is based on communications, collaboration and cooperation. He fully understands that he doesn’t work for CSRD but instead is a voice for the communities of Area D. Although he has his own opinions, when at the CSRD table he represents the majority of voices within Area D; that is true democracy.

Dean wants to work very closely with his communities of Falkland, Silver Creek, Gardom Lake, Deep Creek and Ranchero. Dean’s goal is to see thriving community associations in every area to help him better represent the people.


Electoral Area E candidates

Leslie Johnson

Hello my name is Leslie Johnson.

I am running for Area E director because I care about this area where I have lived my whole life. I have experience in agriculture, forestry, health care and construction.

I consider myself fiscally responsible, a good listener and care about matters that help benefit and improve the lives of residents in the area, as well as the province and country. I was a volunteer on Area E parks commission for four years and learned how to provide input on plans and budgets.

I care about all ages and genders, and can listen and communicate what they would like done in this area.

I hope to help improve employment, services, housing, tourism, parks, our lakes and water system, as well as education and health care. My roots in this area are deep and I don’t plan on going anywhere. I believe in this area and I want to make it the best it can be. I can see it’s potential and want to help its residents to the fullest extent of my ability and duty as Area E director. Bless you and thanks for taking the time to consider me.

Dan Letendre

My name is Dan Letendre.

I have resided and worked in the Malakwa area for 31 years.

I own and operate a log scaling business and have several clients in the local area.

I know I possess the necessary listening skills and common sense to work effectively in a group setting. I also have a strong desire for the direction our community should pursue. Therefore, it is my aspiration to represent the citizens of Area E.

I ask for your support to make our district a great place to live and do business.

Rhona Martin

Rhona was raised in Kitimat and moved to Malakwa with her parents and brother in her late teens.

Married life took her away from the community for a time and when her parents asked for help in 1980 she came back to answer that call.

She and Brian have owned a family restaurant in the community for over 35 years.

Rhona has five children, 17 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren – lots of birthdays to keep track of.

Rhona has been involved with the local community association since the early 1980s. Having boys involved in hockey, she was a member of the Sicamous & District Minor Hockey Association executive, serving as its president for a number of years. Currently, Rhona is serving her 15th year as a member of the Eagle Valley Senior Citizens Housing Society, a non-profit society providing a range of housing options for seniors.

Rhona is running for this elected position because she feels she does make a difference. She has been influential at the CSRD board table, making sure the views of Area E are heard and understood. She listens to people’s concerns and tries her best to guide them to the solution they are looking for.

Natalie Sorkilmo

I hope to meet many, if not all, of my neighbours in Area E over the coming weeks as we embark together on a journey of much-needed change from the 23 years of representation which has resulted in minimal positive results or economic growth.

I am hearing that communication, respect, fairness, progress and solution-based governance within Area E needs to be drastically improved. The system is overworked and we need to stop procrastinating on productive changes.

As a mother, I have a strong desire to improve our community for the future of our children. I am driven to question and research the laws that impact our lives, properties, services and community; a challenge I enjoy after 12 years of researching case law and transcribing legal proceedings. I carry 15 years of experience in business, with an education in communications that backs over 22 years within various sectors.

As the economic driver behind our government, the voter deserves more. I strongly believe a leader who respects the individual is critical to balancing opposing perspectives. I can’t wait to meet you and dive into what really matters to your family, security, sense of community and vision for CSRD Area E!


Electoral Area F candidates

Eugene Eklund

I moved to the Shuswap in 2019. I should have moved here many years ago.

I have a Bachelor of Education and graduated from the two-year Power Engineering Program at S.A.I.T.

I’ve worked in agriculture, manufacturing, construction, education and oil and gas.

I’ve also owned and operated a small decking and railing company.

When I wrote a letter to the editor regarding the North Shuswap Medical Center, I had no idea I would asked to run for Area F director.

Shouldn’t more signatures than electors raise a red flag? Even one-third of the electors signing a “local” petition should have raised some eyebrows. Bylaw No. 5848 came as a surprise to most residents.

Why didn’t the health society, the CSRD and Director Simpson first hold public consultation? Electors had a right to know. Is it because it might have been defeated since most residents can’t even access the doctor who works there? A doctor who will be leaving shortly?

Isn’t health care funded by provincial/federal governments? Who wants their taxes raised without consultation, no matter how small it is?

A director is not a dictator. I will be a responsible director who will represent you!

Jay Simpson

Jay Simpson is an experienced entrepreneur, community champion and board professional.

His varied background includes time as a software engineer and in sales and marketing and, most recently, four years representing you at the CSRD board table. He chairs the Shuswap Watershed Council, sits on the Okanagan Regional Library board and is a director on a number of committees including Shuswap Economic Development, Tourism Shuswap and the Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail. He’s chaired the North Shuswap Chamber of Commerce, the Chase and District Rotary Club and the North Shuswap Health Centre Society, and is a long-standing member of these and other community groups.

Jay, his wife Angela and daughter Petra, work a small sheep/chicken farm as well as run a local vacation rental business.

Elected as Area F director in 2018, Jay’s goal was to bring responsible, reasonable growth to the area. Over the last four years it has become clear we need to set long-term goals and direction for, and with, the community. Over the next four years, that will involve creating a Community Strategic Plan and a new Official Community Plan. I would be honoured to continue this work for you.

Read more: Chamber announces all-candidates’ forum for Salmon Arm Council

Read more: Election 2022: Salmon Arm council candidates introduce themselves
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