KAMLOOPS – With now one year under his belt, first time Kamloops city councillor Dieter Dudy admits to challenges, being unprepared and and being surprised by more than one council outcome.
Regardless, he’s enjoying the ride and thoroughly enjoys serving Kamloops.
Dudy is an organic grower by trade who runs a home delivery service and wholesale business called Fiscal Farm. He has lived in Kamloops for 26 years.
“It’s a great community in so many different ways. It’s a city that still has a small town feel to it,” he says.
Dudy ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2011 and that is when he was bit by the political bug.
He says there are a lot aspects of being a councillor that one can only experience while on the job. He calls himself a bit of a “deer in the headlights" at first.
“You have this idea that you… really know what you’re doing. Then you watch the process and you go ‘I haven’t got a clue.’ You don’t know what to expect until you see it,” he says.
For example, he was surprised the pesticide issue turned out to be so controversial because it was a ban on cosmetic use, not a complete ban on pesticides. He voted in favour of the ban and says he was stopped by a resident at the Farmers' Market who let the councillor know he disagreed with him.
He was also quite surprised about the amount of attention the one kilometre rule between liquor vendors in Kamloops received, but for an entirely different reason.
“No matter what we decided, ultimately the province has the decision on that and they can make changes whenever they choose to,” he says, adding he has a firm belief in the free market. “I’ve always maintained that the cream always rises to the top.”
Meanwhile, issues like creating office space outside of the downtown core instead to the more suburban McGill Road area went much smoother than he anticipated.
“It thought it would be more contentious because of what we were led to believe,” he says, as city staff were against the rezoning.
Much like the man who confronted him at the Farmers’ Market, Dudy has learned Kamloops residents are not shy about speaking their minds.
“Even though the voter turnout did not show that there was a big commitment on the part of Kamloops citizens being engaged in the community, I think most people are,” Dudy says.
While most of the feedback he has received has been positive, he shakes his head thinking back how others have jumped to conclusions.
“It’s like the bridge issue with the ka-thunk. You have expansion joints. You’re not going to have a smooth ride,” Dudy says.
He says throughout his learning curve the mayor and his fellow councillors have been extremely welcoming and he feels fortunate to be part of a very diverse city council.
“I was the unknown quantity. They didn’t know what they were going to be dealing with,” he says.
Dudy says he has been asked if he’d ever contemplate running for mayor again.
“Right now, I’m happy doing what I’m doing. Frankly, we have a very competent Mayor."
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