KAMLOOPS - At 9 a.m. sharp on Monday, August 15, Ken Christian dropped off his nomination package at Kamloops City Hall to officially begin his campaign to move to the mayor's seat at the council table.
Christian is the first mayoral candidate to officially join the race. While he doesn't consider himself the front-runner in the byelection, he does believe his decades of experience in politics make him the right person for the job.
"There are a lot of candidates out there that don't have experience so they are discounting the value of experience," he says. "When we look at filling the seats for this last year I think we want to have somebody that has my six years of experience on council and before that 18 years of experience on the school board to bring to the task of governance."
At the top of Christian's priorities for Kamloops is ensuring the completion of the Royal Inland Hospital upgrade. He believes it is key to cutting down wait times at the hospital and attracting more doctors to the region.
"I believe it will help cement our relationship with the Southern Interior Medical School and help us in our efforts to attract both physicians and other health care workers to Kamloops," he says.
Another major project Christian would like to see completed is the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline. He feels if the project doesn't go through we will see an increase rail and road transport of oil products to the Port of Vancouver.
"I think that is both dangerous from the perspective of Kamloops residents," he says. "From an environmental perspective it is burning a lot more energy to get that material to where it needs to be."
As for the most controversial issue in Kamloops leading up to the Sept. 30 byelection, the KGHM Ajax mine, Christian feels the remaining members of council have done the right thing by asking for a chance to address the relevant government agencies about the mine proposal in person, but he feels it is too little, too late.
"I support the decision that the City of Kamloops made with respect to the project," he says. "What I don't support is the fact that they missed an opportunity to put conditions before the government and now, unfortunately, they are backtracking a bit in terms of getting the Kamloops voice heard."
While Christian is the first candidate to file his nomination papers, other candidates expected to join the race are Todd McLeod, Bill McQuarrie, Reo Rocheleau and Leonard Seigo.
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