ELECTION 2011: Two new contenders for council race

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
September 29th, 2011

 Two newcomers have thrown their hats into the ring for the  city council elections this fall, with two weeks still to go in the nomination window.

  Sue Heaton, office administrator for BC Hydro, and Dan Rye, manager of Kootenay Market, have both committed to having their names on the ballot when Castlegar heads to the polls in November.   “Castlegar really needs a different viewpoint around that table that really engages the taxpayer,” said Heaton. “I think my knowledge around consultation and how to engage the public could be a real benefit to council.”
A married mother of two who made an unsuccessful bid for council three years ago, Heaton brings with her a strong background of local volunteerism, with the now-defunct Selkirk College Foundation, Selkirk Gymnastics Club, Rotary Interact and raising money for juvenile diabetes.   “I definitely think the airport land is going to be a platform issue this election,” she said. “The water and sewer expansion out there has taken a lot of people off guard. Given all the vacant land and businesses downtown and within the city limits, why put the emphasis on airport lands?”   She said uncertain economic times may indicate the city would be better-served by focussing expenditures on existing, deteriorating infrastructure. She also identified healthcare and public transportation as hot-button issues in the coming municipal contest.   As for urban goats and chickens? Heaton said she has no problem with chickens being allowed, within reasonable limitations, but has reservations about animals that will need space to thrive.   Fellow contender Dan Rye, for his part, is no stranger to Castlegar volunteerism – he’s former president of the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club, as well as former United Way board member and a current member of the curling club.   Rye said he thinks it’s less the airport lands than the airport itself that should be a focal point of the upcoming election.   “I think the airport is going to be an issue – its viability is always being talked about; its reliability during the winter months,” he said. “I’m also concerned about empty store fronts in the community, not just downtown, but throughout the whole city.   “Another key issue is going to be Millennium Park – they (council) have done a good job on that master plan, but I’d like to see some of those ideas pursued and implemented by the incoming council. It’s not going to happen all at once, but I’d like to get started on it.”   Rye is no stranger, either, to municipal politics – he served as a city councillor for eight years and as mayor for a year-and-a-half in Gold River on Vancouver Island.   “A community is only as good as the people in it – I’m interested in local politics, and I’d like to think I can help out,” he said.   And where does Rye stand on goats, chickens and urban animal husbandry?   “I would probably say ‘con’ – there’s lots of acreage around us, and I think that’s where (that kind of endeavor) should be.”


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