KAMLOOPS VOTES: Election geography 101
If you are a voter living in South Kamloops and you favour a ward system, the crop of council hopefuls from the neighbourhood are not for you.
None of the four candidates living in South Kamloops are interested in seeing a ward system implemented.
However, a pair of candidates would like to see more engagement from council focused on individual neighbourhoods.
Marg Spina believes each area of the city is different and the residents of a particular neighbourhood know it best.
Instead of looking at the city as a whole, Spina favours having council meeting with various neighbourhoods to discuss strategies for issues like crime prevention or recreational activities.
“It doesn’t cost a lot of money to do it. It just takes interest and energy,” Spina said, adding a ward system would be too divisive for the city.
Chris Ortner said he has spoken with residents in some parts of town who have indicated they don’t feel connected to council or city hall.
He said the new council should attempt to rectify the sentiment by holding meetings in different communities throughout the city.
But, Ortner said, he does not favour a ward system.
“I think ward systems can be somewhat divisive and promote competitive activities that we should be looking at on a bigger scale,” he said.
Donovan Cavers said he doesn’t see a need for a ward system, but would like to see a change in the age demographic at the council table.
“I like to look at Kamloops as united rather than these separate different areas,” he said.
Donna Shedeger argued the city is best represented with the current political system.
Just last week, Cavers and Shedeger were appointed founding directors of a yet-to-be-named South Kamloops community association representing residents south of Columbia Street.
Cavers said his neighbourhood was not a factor in running for council and credited the current group of politicians for doing a good job representing all areas of the city equally.
After living in Valleyview for 18 years, Ortner said he moved to South Kamloops so he could be within walking distance of work and services.
Like Cavers, Ortner feels the current council has honestly served the entire city.
Shedeger now lives in the same house in which she was born but, having been raised in North Kamloops, she said her current neighbourhood did not play a role in her running for council.
She said the city has seen plenty of improvements and growth over the years, suggesting council has “done something right.
“Look at how we’ve grown, yet we still retain that sense of community,” Shedeger said.
Though she lives in South Kamloops, Spina said she spends a great deal of time on the North Shore and is aware of issues throughout the various communities in the city.