FAILED HOSPITAL PROJECT SURE TO BE ELECTION ISSUE
WESTBANK FIRST NATION - Band administrators will soon be dusting off ballot boxes as the Westbank First Nation looks to its next election for chief and council.
Band communications officer Kristy Jean says election day is Sept. 15 this year with the band’s electoral officer posting a list of qualified candidates 30 days before that.
That list will be derived from a nomination meeting held 45 days before the election, which will be overseen by the electoral officer, who is appointed by council 90 days prior to election day.
Council candidates need only qualify to vote, which means be 18 years old, listed on the band membership roll and included on its electors list.
The band last held elections in 2013 when current chief Robert Louie beat challenger Roxanne Lindley with 59 per cent of votes cast.
Incumbents Christopher Derrickson, Mike De Guevara and Mic Werstiuk were returned. Brian Eli, a former chief and councillor, came back to take a vacant seat when incumbent Lorrie Hogaboam did not stand for re-election.
No challengers have yet emerged for the election which will be fought partially on chief and council's role in the Lake Okanagan Wellness Centre project.
The band was forced to pay just over $8 million last year to secure the return of community land it pledged as its share of the private, for-profit hospital project.
First announced in 2011, the project came apart at the seams when financing could not be secured and has descended into countering law suits in B.C. Supreme Court.
Louie has said he plans to run for chief again and sees the wellness centre as the primary election issue for 2016. He did not immediately respond to a request for an interview.
No councillors have publicly revealed their intentions for the 2016 election.
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