The 13 candidates for city council finish up their question period from the Salmar Classic stage at the all-candidates forum on Oct. 2. (Lachlan Labere/Salmon Arm Observer)

Getting to know the council candidates in Salmon Arm

Each of the 13 candidates has provided a brief bio along with their view on the proposed underpass

The Salmon Arm Observer asked the 13 councillor candidates – Kevin Babcock, Aaron Brookes, Debbie Cannon, Chad Eliason, Kevin Flynn, Karmen Krahn, Tim Lavery, Sylvia Lindgren, Wayne Matthews, Mary-Louise McCausland, Jo McDermott, Chris Meikle and Louise Wallace Richmond – to provide a brief bio as well as a 75-word answer to the question: Are you for or against the Ross Street underpass project and why?

More questions and answers will be provided in the following two weeks leading up to the election on Oct. 20.

The candidates’ information and answers are listed below, alphabetically.

*****

KEVIN BABCOCK –

Bio:

Kevin Babcock grew up in White Rock and remained in the Lower Mainland until arriving in Salmon Arm 11 years ago, where he enjoys watching his family grow. He has extensive studies through SFU and Okanagan College, and has recently been continuing studies at TRU towards a Bachelor of Philosophy degree. For the past 22 years he has been working steady as part of the labour force – in the railway, aerospace, and currently forestry industries.

Underpass:

I do support the decision to go ahead with the Ross Street underpass. Our city is beginning to grow at an accelerated pace, and now is the right time to make long-term planning for our city. The underpass will not only ease one of today’s traffic flows but, done correctly, it can be a feature of our town as well as the first part of an attractive waterfront vision.

*****

AARON BROOKES –

Bio:

Aaron Brookes was born and raised in Salmon Arm. After graduating from Salmon Arm Secondary he served in the Royal Canadian Navy for eight years until his medical release. He is now training to become a high school teacher for computer studies. Aaron believes all residents of Salmon Arm should be given the opportunity to succeed.

Underpass:

I am of mixed feelings about the underpass project. The safety requirements from Transport Canada need to be addressed in regards to the railway crossings. However, I am not convinced an underpass is the best option with the recent flooding in our area. As this decision was made by the previous council, I interpret the next council’s mandate to be effective and efficient administration of the referendum response.

*****

DEBBIE CANNON –

Bio:

Debbie grew up in Salmon Arm and graduated in 1984. She and her husband Bruce raised their three girls (Kailey, Robbi and Tessa) in Salmon Arm. Debbie owned a flower shop for 16 years, and later was the floral manager at Safeway. She served three terms on council from 2005-2014 and was appointed to the Interior Health Board from 2015-2017. In her spare time, Debbie enjoys photography, paddling, curling and spending time with her grandchildren.

Underpass:

Yes to the underpass! With Transport Canada implementing new grade crossing regulations, the city will be required to make a large capital investment to upgrade crossings. With the underpass, the city already has grants, reserves and CP funding in place. Yes, we will need to long term borrow (5.3 million) to make up the remaining amount, but with zero tax increase.

*****

CHAD ELIASON –

Bio:

First elected in 2005, Chad is seeking his 5th term. He has served on countless committees locally, regionally and provincially.

From being a founding member of the Shuswap Trail Alliance to the Union of BC Municipalities Executive, Chad is always advocating for the needs of our community. Chad has championed transit, trails and recycling. Professionally, Chad is a business owner with over a decade of experience in Mortgage Brokering.

Chad enjoys biking, soccer, xc skiing and travel.

Underpass:

I support the underpass. Safety, storm water management and to better access a natural extension of our growing downtown core. All options for traversing the tracks have been examined in depth, including an overpass which has been deemed unfeasible for a variety of reasons. It is a part of our strategic capital plan, comes with no tax increase and still allows us to stay on track for a new pool.

*****

KEVIN FLYNN –

Bio:

My family (Cathy, Chris, Curtis) have lived in Salmon Arm for 22 years. Both boys now live and work in Salmon Arm. I am a small business owner, Certified Financial Planner and Employee Benefits Specialist. I have been on city council for 13 years (four terms). I am Past President of the Salmon Arm Golf Club and Chamber of Commerce. I have significant governance experience regionally and provincially (MIA, UBCM, SILGA, CSRD). Re-elect positive experience!

Underpass:

I am an unequivocal, enthusiastic, and hopeful Yes! An active transportation link connecting our vibrant downtown to our waterfront assets is an important infrastructure improvement. The underpass has been in our OCP since 1984 and is in both the strategic and longterm financial plans. Proper planning and reserves paid by waterfront development means no anticipated tax increase. This is the right project, in the right place, at the right time.

*****

KARMEN KRAHN

Bio:

Karmen Krahn holds a masters in ethics and is certified in Applied Behavior Analysis. She brings to the role of councillor many transferable skills including data-driven decision making, collaborative problem solving, and a commitment to authentic consultation. Karmen’s vision for growth includes not only economy and infrastructure, but the inevitable social and intellectual changes that occur as we grow. Karmen is a Behaviour Consultant and lives in Canoe with her partner and two boxers.

Underpass:

I’m answering as a citizen, not a candidate, because on October 20 this question belongs to us all. I will vote in favour of the RSU because I have done my research with a clear set of expectations, and I am satisfied that my criteria are met. It is my hope that all voters do the same. Research. Read both sides. Understand the consequences of not doing it now. Please visit Karmenkrahn.ca.

*****

TIM LAVERY

Bio:

I moved with my wife Nancy Kolkind to Salmon Arm 24 years ago to raise a family and because of the incredible lifestyle that Salmon Arm offers. It’s the best decision we’ve ever made! We have two wonderful young adult daughters.

Four years ago I retired and brought value-added collaborative skills and public sector experience to this current council and hopefully for the next one as well!

See https://timlavery.ca/ for my full re-election campaign platform.

Underpass:

I’ll be voting “Yes.” It’s the best safest multi-modal crossing option now available to us given that our current crossings are not adequate. A “No” vote will represent a significant lost opportunity in light of much higher future costs to build a crossing later. Finally, we’ll be faced with significant costs to improve our existing crossings, much sooner than later, linked to Transport Canada decisions outside of our control. See https://timlavery.ca/ for more information.

*****

SYLVIA LINDGREN

Bio:

My family has been part of this community for more than 25 years. I have worked in social services, health care, and education and have a wide variety of experience. I want Salmon Arm to be more than just a great place to retire; Salmon Arm can be a great city for our youth and young families as well. I want to focus on affordable housing and family supporting jobs.

Underpass:

The process to develop access to the water front side of town has been slow and not very transparent. I would like to have seen a solution in place by now. I believe the people of Salmon Arm would also have preferred to have more than one viable option on the referendum; however, I will support the decision of the voters.

*****

WAYNE MATTHEWS –

Bio:

I was raised in Salmon Arm, graduated from Jackson High School. I spent 16 years serving Salmon Arm as a member of council, six years as a director of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, 25 years’ business experience in the Salmon Arm area, five years as warehouse manager, four years as heavy equipment operator and two years’ experience in the financial industry. As a councillor, I was instrumental in several large projects including the Shaw Centre.

Underpass:

I try to be careful with opinions, I believe the position of councillor is about listening to people, carefully considering options and seeking the best solution for the community’s needs. Rather than align with a particular agenda, I believe people want their council to listen with the goal of finding reasonable, affordable and sensible solutions. Those solutions may not always align with my opinion but that’s ok. I want what is best for our community.

*****

MARY-LOUISE MCCAUSLAND

Bio:

Mary-Louise McCausland, former BC Director of Film Classification, helped draft the Motion Picture Act, spoke at international and national conferences, and negotiated agreements with Canada Customs and Saskatchewan. Because of the Act’s impact on business, she created a business advisory group to work with her. She managed the Surrey Crime Prevention Society and has been a board member of the Surrey Board of Trade, Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce, and Shuswap Association of Writers.

Underpass:

I recognize there is need to have a safe crossing option across the railway tracks. Whether the underpass or overpass is the best solution is a moot point given the fact that there is a referendum on the subject and council will be governed by the results.

*****

JO MCDERMOTT

Bio:

Jo McDermott moved to Salmon Arm in 2009. As an active member of the community, Jo has owned her own business and served on the boards of the Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Association and the Shuswap Farm & Craft Market, as well as lending her voice to the Environmental Advocacy Committee. Creating open communication between citizens and their local representatives is one of her top priorities.

Underpass:

• Provided that the city can stay true to their promise of not needing to raise taxes, I cautiously support the underpass project. I have my concerns, as many citizens do, and I would like to see them addressed after the referendum. A ‘Yes’ vote for the referendum is not binding, but it gives us a good chance to iron out further details and guarantee that the city can proceed in a responsible way.

*****

CHRIS MEIKLE

Bio:

Chris moved to Salmon Arm in 2006 to help set up the company ADAM Integrated Industries. Over the following 11 years, Chris took on many key leadership and management roles within ADAM, helping build this new business in Salmon Arm’s Industrial Park.

In 2017, Chris and his wife Jeanette started Idea 64 Projects: a company focused on working at the intersection of fabrication and artistic creativity.

Underpass:

I feel that there could have been a better solution through more consultation with the public on this topic. That being said, if the people of Salmon Arm vote “yes” for the underpass in the referendum, I will support this decision and work hard to make sure it fits the needs of all of our community members.

*****

LOUISE WALLACE RICHMOND

Bio:

I am a small business owner, part time business professor and current city councillor living in Canoe with my family. With training in economics and publishing, I have worked with our community’s most innovative businesses and non-profits. I know a healthy, forward-looking and creative economy is key to success. Our talent base and collaborative approach motivates me to seek re-election and further secure Salmon Arm’s future as BC’s most liveable small city.

Underpass:

The need for and design of safe, inclusive access across the tracks has been rigorously studied. This proposal represents the best scenario of many options considered. Currently, the safest way across the tracks is by vehicle. I am supportive of the underpass for its unfettered, walkable access to and from a vibrant and important section of our downtown core including hundreds of residents, businesses, community gathering spaces and trails.


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