Did he want to do another four years? Did he still have the drive and desire to lead the city? What did his family think?
After taking some time away to think things through, answer ‘yes’ to the first two questions and with his family’s grace, Victor Cumming will seek a second term as mayor of Vernon.
He made the announcement outside Vernon City Hall Wednesday morning, Aug. 24.
“I’m fully aware of the significant time,energy, focus and technical level attention the role requires in Vernon,” said Cumming, joined at his announcement by incumbent councillors Kari Gares and Brian Quiring.
“I wrestled with the term, I wrestled with even staying with it. It’s been a great four years but a four-year term is quite long. I absolutely wrestled with the length of time commitment and the sheer amount of effort that has to go into every single day. it definitely gave me significant pause.”
After many conversations with his wife Mary-Ann, and receiving support of all of his immediate family, close colleagues and friends, Cumming said there were three main factors that tipped the scales in favour of seeking re-election.
He wants to see through and complete numerous initiatives underway. He wants the opportunity to continue to apply his mix of knowledge, experience, skills and practised leadership in his community. And he’s passionate about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead over the next four years.
Among the initiatives Cumming would like to see through are the development of Kin Race Track Athletic Park, Polson Park redevelopment planning and construction, rebuilding the Peanut Pool at Lakeview Park, the paved off-road trail from Pleasant Valley Road to the Foothills and competing the 10th and final year of the annual accumulative 1.9 per cent tax levy which is dedicated entirely for much-needed infrastructure replacement.
Cumming, who holds a Masters degree in planning and development, along with a Bachelor’s degree in economics and geography, has a combined 40 years of professional experience nationally and internationally.
He was elected mayor in 2014.
“In addition to my regular mayoral duties, I have also kept up regular attendance at council committees, including finance, advisory planning, biosolids, Okanagan Indian Band/City of Vernon working group, and economic development plus the tourism commission and climate action committee, where I’m the alternate,” said Cumming.
“This committee work has been critical to understanding the community’s diverse interests, capacity and drive, and has been a key opportunity to dive into the extensive background rationale to committee and staff recommendations that later appear in council’s agendas for decision making.”
Highlights of his first four years in office, he said, includes significant housing additions to the city and investing in commercial operations. The lowlight, Cumming said, was COVID-19, the pandemic that caught everyone off guard.
Cumming is the first to announce their candidacy for mayor, and he hopes to receive a challenge.
“Today, I just want to be clear in my interest in running this fall,” he said. “I hope anybody that is really keen to run that they run. It’s a really good process for the community to have a number of people who want to be showing leadership taking part.”
Cumming defeated three challengers in 2014.