Chilliwack names slowly come forward for November municipal election

Dick Harrington - Submitted
Dick Harrington
— image credit: Submitted

With municipal elections just 80 days off, more incumbents and challengers are announcing candidacies for various local political offices.

One-time candidate Dick Harrington is set to formally announce his candidacy for Chilliwack city council early next month.

In a media advisory, Harrington said he would make a short speech outlining his “progressive platform” at the Landing Sports Centre at noon on Sept. 9.

The retired teacher, principal and, more recently, NDP campaigner was one of the first to announce he would run in the 2011 Chilliwack election. He finished ninth with 2,206 votes in the bid for the six seats on council despite the fact the he spent more than anyone else on the campaign, at $18,143.

The only incumbent so far to confirm he would run for council is Jason Lum, who finished third in 2011 with 4,423 votes. Lum said he would run in November, adding that depending on how the mayoral race shapes up, he may take a shot at the top job.

Young entrepreneur Sam Waddington is the only other confirmed candidate in the race for council at Chilliwack city hall. He was the first to put his name forward in early July.

The 24-year-old is the owner of Mt. Waddington’s Outdoors and was involved in The Friends of the Paramount, the group of citizens and business owners looking to save the downtown theatre from demolition.

Mayor Sharon Gaetz and the five other sitting councillors are yet to formally announce whether or not they will seek re-election. Gaetz said she has made her decision but will announce when she is ready.

Couns. Chuck Stam, Ken Huttema and Stewart McLean all said they would make a decision after the summer.


Cultus Lake Park Board

An interesting election is shaping up for the five seats on the Cultus Lake Park Board after the makeup of the board changed as a result of provincial legislation.

Currently the board is made up of seven commissioners, five elected by residents of Chilliwack and two by Cultus Lake residents.

Thanks to the Cultus Lake Park Amendment Act passed earlier this year, the number of commissioners will be reduced from seven to five, and the number elected by Cultus residents increases to three.

The move was aimed to shift the balance of power towards Cultus residents and came about as a result of a petition started by Sue and Gary Lister. It was championed in Victoria by Chilliwack-Hope MLA Laurie Throness.

The changes are controversial, but seem to be welcomed by many lakers who have been unhappy with how the board is managed for many years.

The divisive politics at the lake led commissioner Bob McCrea to resign effective Aug. 15.

In an open letter McCrea said in his 40-year career he had never seen such “blatant disregard” by management and some commissioners to the leaseholders at Cultus Lake.

He said he can better serve the board by resigning and working over the next three months to “ensure the best candidates get elected.”

McCrea and commissioners Larry Payer and Malcolm Shanks have frequently clashed over the years with the other four commissioners, but mostly with Owen Skonberg and board chair Sacha Peter.

Skonberg has announced that he would not seek re-election in 2014.

Commissioner Carlton Toews, however, announced last week that he would seek re-election to the board.

“I ask myself a question before each CLPB decision,” he wrote in an email announcement. “How will this decision affect the park in the next 100 years?”

After stepping down from the park board, the City of Chilliwack, as per the Cultus Lake Park Act, replaced McCrea and appointed local lawyer David Renwick to the board.

Local government elections across British Columbia are set for Nov. 15.

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