Meet the candidates for the upcoming Nakusp by-election

Two people are vying for the open council seat. Voting is July 13!

Ken MIller has lived in Nakusp since 1975. Photo submitted

Summer’s here, but there’s no respite from politics.

Voters in Nakusp go to the polls on July 13 to choose a replacement for Janis Neufeld, who resigned from the village council earlier this year.

Two men have put their hats in the ring: local businessman Reny Kitto and longtime resident and former councillor Ken Miller.

We gave the candidates four questions and asked them to explain who they are and their positions.

Their responses are below. The candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

Reny Kitto

1. Please introduce yourself to the voters: who are you?

I am a father of two boys, Josh and Jake, who were born in our very own Nakusp hospital. I grew up in Vernon, Kelowna and Nakusp but moved to Manitoba for 20 years to raise our family closer to their mother’s family. I worked in construction until a back injury forced me into a technical career. I was fortunate to come to a point in my life that brought me back to the beautiful Village of Nakusp and join your wonderful community. I look forward to working with all of you.

2. Why did you want to run for Nakusp village council?

I am running for council to help move ideas forward. Positive growth in our business community will help ensure a strength that is needed beyond the tourist season. As a local businessperson I am able to see the influence of an unsteady economy in a small town and what repercussions it has on us all. With some businesses closing their doors for months on end during the off season, it’s apparent that some things need to change so that our economy is stabilized.

3. What are the major issues you think the village is facing?

I can continue on with economic problems in our community but there are more issues that need addressing. Housing and jobs are a fundamental problem in many communities and we are no exception. The village has the ability to help with planning the direction of growth and working with companies who are looking to set up their facilities here. This direction is key to solve steady work and thusly a steadier economy. A better economy makes a healthier town for everybody!

4. What would you hope to accomplish during your time on council?

I realize that everyone goes into politics with the grandest ideas of “change” but I am not so foolish to believe that change can happen overnight. Change takes time for communities to absorb, accept and adopt! My hopes of accomplishment as your councillor are simple: plant seeds of change that will grow into reality for the next generations of councillors and community people of Nakusp. My ideas aren’t new but my energy is my strongest asset to help the current councillors.

Ken Miller

1. Please introduce yourself to the voters: who are you?

I am a retired plumber and hospital worker concerned about the present and future of Nakusp. I came to Nakusp from Trail in 1967 as part of my first apprenticeship. After a second short work term here, my wife and I moved to Vancouver but it wasn’t for us. We returned to Nakusp in 1975 and started a plumbing business. Things were pretty slow back then so I also worked at the hot springs, managed both arenas, then worked as maintenance supervisor at the hospital for 21 years, retiring in 2010. During these years we raised two wonderful boys who still enjoy visiting their hometown. My current volunteerism is with the Hospital Foundation and the Legion.

2. Why did you want to run for Nakusp village council?

I would hope that my previous experience as a councillor would be a benefit to the others in promoting growth, with stability. I was a councillor from 1993 to 1996 where I sat at the table with former councillor and mayor Karen Hamling. It was a big learning experience which coincided with the formation of the Columbia Basin Trust, which came about only because several communities united for a single purpose. I do admit that I found the position very time consuming but in the end very rewarding. I always thought I would run again after I retired.

3. What are the major issues you think the village is facing?

The most obvious issue is housing. In years past we’ve had almost the opposite problem, no jobs. I can vouch for us being a wonderful place for retirees but we have to do whatever is required to get more young families back into our community. It would be nice to see our schools bursting at the seams again with new students. We have a lot of amenities for kids and this is an incredible place to raise them. It is the job of Nakusp council to assure that our infrastructure and services keep up with our growth though advanced planning and financial reserves.

4. What would you hope to accomplish during your time on council?

I’m looking forward to working with the mayor and present councillors to see the completion of current housing projects, and more. I am keen to set the stage for growth through plans for expanded infrastructure, while always keeping a close eye on our property taxes. I would also like to complete my time feeling confident that I had fulfilled my commitment while enjoying myself enough to want continue at it. I know that council decisions can’t please everyone but would hope to please the majority without losing the respect of those with other opinions.

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