By Nicole Trigg
Following the municipal election, the political landscape of the Columbia Valley has hardly changed. Every incumbent was voted back in, and the league of Columbia Valley directors is virtually unchanged (as pointed out in the election story starting on page 3, acclaimed Radium mayor Clara Reinhardt is already a familiar face at the Regional District of East Kootenay board table).
What this means is the valley-wide initiatives that have gained traction over the last three years will continue to pick up steam and forge ahead. The Windermere District Farmers Institute abbatoir, the Columbia Valley Directed Funds Committee, the push for integrated valley-wide visitor services and destination tourism marketing, the Columbia Valley Cultural Tourism Association, the multi-use community centre in Invermere, the Columbia Valley Recreation Service Area… these efforts and more, which focus on the Columbia Valley as a whole with its separate moving parts working together, will continue to find support and funding, and keep the momentum alive.
A few subtle differences are bound to be noticed, however. Canal Flats incomers Erin Gornik and Karl Sterzer, and Radium rookie Tyler McCauley, will hopefully galvanize their respective councils with some fresh energy and new, innovative ideas. And whereas the last District of Invermere council was perceived as anti-Jumbo (either opposed to the municipality or the resort itself) because of the 3:2 dynamic of Gerry Taft, Spring Hawes and Paul Denchuk uniting against the more moderate, pro-development stance of Justin Atterbury and Greg Anderson, the re-introduction of Al Miller flips that ratio, undoubtedly lending to a less controversial and more business-friendly approach should the Environmental Assessment Office give the resort the green light. Mr. Millers return also guarantees Invermere an experienced council unhindered by the learning curve incoming councillors usually require. Some are bemoaning the fact that no women are represented on this council. Why more women didnt run is indicative of either a complete lack of interest, or a complete lack of confidence something that will hopefully be rectified in the future.