The need for employment in Sicamous is certainly a driving factor for at least two residents planning to throw their hat in the political ring.
Prior to the nomination period kicking off last week for the mayor’s chair and six seats on council, the News spoke several who have been involved, or are currently involved with council intent on running once again. They included former mayor, Lorraine March, who will again be running for the position, as well as incumbent Mayor Malcolm MacLeod, who indicated he too is hoping to serve another term.
Charlotte Hutchinson and Don Richardson, who were elected in an October by-election, both said they will be run again, as did Lynn Miller and Fred Busch. Jerry Silva said he was weighing the pros and cons, while Heidi Dewit has said she will not seek re-election.
Newcomers in the running include Terry Sinton, Joan Thomson and Greg Kyllo.
Sinton did run in the by-election which, due to the timing, did not benefit from an all-candidates meeting. Despite this, she managed to come in third place behind Hutchinson and Richardson. Asked why she’s going for it again, Sinton expressed grave concern for the community, saying focus needs to be put on the economy.
“Businesses are hurting here, tourism has dropped, we have no other industry at this time in Sicamous, and I think we really need to take a long, hard look at what this town has to offer in the way of industry,” says Sinton. “And if tourism is the only way we’re going to go, then we need to make it more friendly for tourism.”
Sinton, who is a boardmember with the Eagle Valley Arts Council, a director for the Sicamous Eagles, a member of the Sicamous and District Recreation Arena Society, a member of the Sicamous Amateur Drama Club and a community representative on the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s Economic Development Committee, says that council needs to create an environment in which businesses can thrive. This, in turn, would benefit families and seniors.
“We’re losing people, families are moving away, there are very few jobs here – certainly not many jobs with a future,” says Sinton. “We have seniors here, they don’t have the concern of having a job, but they’re concerned about the fact that taxes have gone up because we’re sort of a resort/ lakefront community. We need people here that can help with the tax burden. We need businesses here that will employ people and draw families to move to this town.”
Thomson, a resident of the community for the past 31 years, is of similar mindset.
“I love Sicamous and I just think that it has more potential, I think we can go farther,” says Thomson. “We’re just losing so many people, we need to get more businesses, we need to get some employment here. People aren’t going to come here unless they have jobs.”
Thomson says it’s vital the community pursue economic development or else it risks becoming a ghost town.
“We’re going to lose our schools – if there’s no kids here we won’t be able to keep them open and I think that’s important,” says Thomson.
Thomson used to run a houseboat company in Sicamous with her late husband and municipal councillor, Ken Thomson. She was a secretary with the chamber, involved in girls softball, was on the board for the Eagle Valley Community Support Society and a 15-year board member of the arena society, of which she’s still a member. Thomson has also been involved with the Sicamous Lions for the past 20 years.
“That’s what I really enjoy, is the Lions, helping others in our community and around the world,” says Thomson.
Thomson says she’s long been interested in council politics, but never ran because of Ken.
“I would say I have the insight and I believe I’m pretty level-headed too,” says Thomson. “I can make good decisions and I would make the decisions based on what the community wants too.”
Kyllo did not respond to the Eagle Valley News questions about his campaign by press time.