Five years ago Carol Enns was in a horrific car crash that left her blind and physically disabled.
But the way she was supported by the citizens of Rossland stuck with her.
“My community really pulled together for me, unbelieveably so,” she said. “So I just thought, I have a lot of time on my hands right now, maybe I can give back.”
That’s why Enns put her name forward for a seat on council — one of 14 people who put their nomination forms in by last Friday’s deadline.
Now she’s got to figure out the challenges of navigating city politics as a visually-impaired person (she’s getting some advice from a blind city councillor from the Lower Mainland).
She says she likes the way council has gone the last few years, and she’s willing to learn on the job.
“I’m not a big one for opinions, I just listen and I try to learn and see,” she says. “I am not big on spending, I don’t know the books or how it’s going, but I am pretty frugal myself. I just want us to live within our means.”
Wanting to give back was a common thread for the candidates Rossland News contacted this week. We’ll be presenting more complete profiles of each candidate in the weeks leading up to the Oct. 20 vote, but thought we’d introduce some of the candidates as the campaign just starts to get underway.
“I’m interested in the workings of the city, and I would like to lend my voice, to be involved,” says Dirk Lewis, a biologist with a company based in Rossland.
“I don’t have a particular platform, I just want to be involved. I like the way council has gone the last four years and want to participate in helping it move forward.”
Janice Nightingale says she thinks being a councillor would be a great opportunity to get involved in her community “at a higher level.”
“I want to make decisions based on comprehensive and robust information in the best interests of the whole community. Every decision council makes is important to someone in the community, and I believe it is important to remember that,” she says.
She says she’s looking forward to the learning experience of sitting on council, should she be elected.
Four candidates won’t have to learn on the job — Andy Morel, Andrew Zwicker and John Greene are all incumbents from the current council — and one person is running from council’s past.
Jill Spearn lost the mayor’s race to Kathy Moore last election in 2014, and is back to try for a seat on council.
“I am interested in politics. I think that over the three terms I had many contributions to council, and I’d like to see a diversity of people on council again,” Spearn says. “There’s only one woman, and that’s the mayor, so I am hoping for some more women to step up.”
Spearn says there have been a lot of changes in Rossland, and with big issues like the arena and pool coming up, she thinks her experience and background might help.
One of those names on the incumbents list is a surprise. Andrew Zwicker indicated he wasn’t going to run again, as he was concerned about time obligations. However, when a few things came together in the last week, the scheduling problem vanished.
“I really wanted to do it. I was really proud of a lot we accomplished in this first term, and we’re now starting to build from that,” he says. “And we’re getting into some really interesting and exciting stuff that is really important to me.
“And it’s important to have continuation from the previous council, and the representation of some young families in town,” he added.
He’s not daunted by having to run against 13 other candidates — almost double the field he ran against last election.
“It’s a really fine selection of candidates there, and whatever the result is, we’ll get a great council out of that group of people, it’s a great-looking list.”
The other council candidates are: Deke Baley, Chris Bowman, Scott Forsyth, John Lake, Fletcher Quince, Richard Soltice, and Stewart Spooner
Meanwhile, rural residents around Rossland won’t have to do any work on election day. All five directors for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary have been acclaimed back to their positions.
Voters will have a choice for school board representation, though. Incumbent Gord Smith is facing a challenge from Desiree Profili for the Area 5 seat.
Rossland News plans to publish platforms and profiles of all the candidates in the coming weeks.
There’s also an all-candidates meeting for council on Oct. 2 at the Miners Hall in Rossland.
See more election coverage in today’s West Kootenay Advertiser