Meet Rossland’s new city councillors

We asked five questions of the councillors during the campaign. Here are their answers.

Rossland residents go to the polls to vote for a new city council on Oct. 20. While they won’t be voting for a mayor — Kathy Moore was unopposed, and acclaimed last week — voters have plenty of choice for council. Twelve people have thrown their hat into the ring for the six available council seats.

To help you wade through the field, the Rossland News asked candidates to respond to five basic questions. Each candidate had a limit of 100 words to answer each question.

We ran half the candidate’s responses in our October 4 newspaper, and will run the rest in the October 11 edition. We’ll run half the candidate’s responses this week; the rest will be next week. The candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

On Oct. 18, we’ll have the school board candidate’s questions.

1. Tell us about yourself.

Chris Bowman

Originally from Vancouver, I fell in love with Rossland at the same time as my wife Trinda introduced me to her hometown. After some time in Alberta, we decided to raise our children in this amazing community. Historically, I have had proven success in project management, team development and relationship building so once settled I began to quickly make friends and colleagues and have had the pleasure of leading large changes here in business, tourism and local enjoyment. This place and its people are the reason I look forward to help, in a larger capacity with a seat on council!

Scott Forsyth

I moved to Rossland six years ago. Rossland has turned out to be way better than I expected, largely because of the people. Since moving here I have volunteered and supported the community in many ways. These include starting the ongoing Church of Dirt volunteer trail building group that built Drifter and Eddie J trails; sitting on the Kootenay-Columbia Trail Society and Tourism Rossland boards, coaching youth cross-country ski racers, doing sound for Joe Hill, helping organize the Rossland Music Camp, and working on a number of new cabins in Strawberry Pass.

Dirk Lewis

75 words about me, Dirk Lewis. I’m a dishwashing, wood-splitting dad for my young family in Rossland. I’ve been here since late 2004, came here for the mountain-biking and have been attempting to learn the fine art of skiing since. I own a small consulting firm that is headquartered here in town. I’ve found that my beard keeps me warmer in winter and reduces bug bites in summer. I am striving to improve my sustainability rating daily (environmental, social, grammatical).

Andy Morel

20 years as Rossland resident. Incumbent candidate, Councillor (2014-2018). Federal and provincial election candidate – 2008/2009.

Active community volunteer over past years. Served on a number of community boards in numerous roles. Education: Diploma, Recreation Leadership, Hospital Management, OHA. Retail business proprietor, outdoor – bike/ski – 12 years. General contractor/ carpentry experience. Nordic ski instructor/ trail groomer extraordinaire.

Janice Nightingale

I’ve owned a house in Rossland since 2003. I’ve lived in Rossland full time since 2012. Like so many people before and after me, I came for the outdoor recreation (skiing) and fell in love with the community. Before I came to Rossland I worked for UPS, first as a driver, then in their business development division and finally as an operations manager. I’m married, and have two married boys in their 30s, and three adorable grandchildren I can hardly wait to teach to ski.

Stewart Spooner

I’m 50 years old, and have lived in Rossland since 1992. My wife and I just demolished and rebuilt our home, where we plan to live out the rest of our lives. I’ve been operations manager with the Kootenay Columbia Trails Society since 2000, and am significantly responsible for the recreational trail network that we enjoy. I’m a founding director (since 2003) of the Friends of the Rossland Range Society, with which I helped create and plan the Rossland Range Recreation Site. I’m an active and passionate skier, ski-tourer, and mountain biker, and enjoy barbequed meats and hoppy beers.

2. What qualities do you possess that would make you a good councillor?

Chris Bowman

In my opinion a good councillor comes with many attributes. They must be visible, available and accountable. They need to have empathy, listen to and seek to understand the concerns of the community as a whole and be fearless in questioning everything. A good councillor believes in responsible government that works well as a team to improve and grow, setting the path for future. I have spent many years in business and management, learned from some fantastic mentors and have proven to myself that I possess these qualities and I look forward to the possibility to share.

Scott Forsyth

I have a strong ethical and moral compass that is essential for good governance and transparency. I am a critical thinker who likes to do research and verify others’ research before coming to my own conclusions. I am community-minded and have the confidence to stand for what I believe is the best path for our city. I listen well and look for common ground upon which to build consensus. I am open to new ideas and will change my mind on an issue if new information leads me to do so.

Dirk Lewis

I get along well with others, am logical, and hard-working. I’ve worked in local government in the past, and spent the last 14 years working for local government as a contractor. This experience has given me a window into many different local governments. Owning and operating a business has honed my pragmatism. I would really like the opportunity to become more involved in our town.

Andy Morel

I have a / I am a: passion for community. Team oriented. Strong listener/ effective communicator. Seeks answers. Question decisions, recommendations and opinions of others for clarification. Research and educate self in regards to issues. Have own opinions and values that are important to me. Can change decisions and opinions with compelling arguments. Keep it professional, not personal.

Janice Nightingale

I am curious, and love to learn and find solutions for challenges. I’m persistent. My career experience helps me to look at the bigger picture, and to make long term plans, but not to be so rigid that I couldn’t adjust those plans when new information or circumstances arise. I’m not afraid to ask people who disagree with my viewpoint to explain theirs, and learn what and why they think the way they do. I enjoy working with others with different strengths than I have, as I believe it results in a better end product.

Stewart Spooner

I’m experienced in the processes of government, am engaged with the issues, and have a demonstrated capacity to find common ground and work towards practical solutions with a diverse range of people.

3. What do you see as the biggest issue facing Rossland and how would you address it?

Chris Bowman

I think the biggest issue facing Rossland is housing. Although the market is gaining momentum there is a serious lack of inner-city density. That being said, I am a serious advocate for doing things right. What can be done, built, said, and attempted doesn’t necessarily mean it should be! I want to be a part of growth here, I want to ensure we follow the correct path so the future expansion of Rossland can accommodate the growth. Infrastructure, modern technology, services, economic and environmental impact all need to be considered. It is an exciting time.

Scott Forsyth

I see recreation spending in general and the arena in particular as the biggest issue at this time. I have requested exhaustive information on the arena so that I can be well informed before making a decision. There are a number of options to be explored, and I think any decision has to be based on accurate information, including cost-benefit analyses, and fit into the context of fiscally responsible spending.

Dirk Lewis

There are a number of key issues, I feel the biggest is our infrastructure. It had been chronically underfunded and has not kept pace with climatic changes that strain it. Too often this is a result of promises to “cut taxes” – I do not believe this is wise, either in the short- or long-term. Asset upgrades and replacements are inevitable, this must be properly budgeted.

Andy Morel

Continues to be infrastructure replacement/upgrades. “Municipal Asset Management Plan.” Decades of lack of investment has created a substantial infrastructure deficit. Important that council and staff have an effective plan(Municipal Asset Management Program) to tackle the issues forward. With current assessments underway an long term plan is being formulated with dedicated tax funds being deposited to specific reserves. Having projects shovel ready ( completed engineering, cost estimates, etc.), we are in a strong position to qualify and lobby for Provincial and Federal grant funding opportunities. Recent successful projects include: Columbia Ave., Washington, Spokane/ Leroi.

Janice Nightingale

I think that the biggest issue for Rossland is how to manage the growth we are experiencing, and the demands it places on our resources. Our growth will create change and challenges in thecommunity, but I want to always keep in mind that council’s decisions should first and foremost benefit the people who make Rossland their home, and who elected us. We have a very diverse community, and diversity gives us resilience.3) I think that the biggest issue for Rossland is how to manage the growth we are experiencing, and the demands it places on our resources. Our growth will create change and challenges in the community, but I want to always keep in mind that council’s decisions should first and foremost benefit the people who make Rossland their home, and who elected us. We have a very diverse community, and diversity gives us resilience.

Stewart Spooner

Recreation funding and utilization of the Emcon lot are significant issues that carry over from the previous Council, however if current trends continue, then housing affordability, rental availability, community gentrification, and development pressure on the character of the built environment and our natural setting will create significant challenges for the next Council to address. There are no simple solutions, but to seriously engage with the issues, be committed to the values articulated in our Official Community Plan, listen to the people who are impacted, be open to creative collaborative solutions, and transparent in my decisions and reasoning.

4. What would you like to see changed at City Hall?

Chris Bowman

I am a big fan of breaking things down to see if they are working right. Routinely, City Hall has been the center of attention (as it is with most communities). I believe there are great things that come out of our city, all departments seem to be synergistic, I also believe they have good leaders in place who can make a difference and I look forward to the opportunity to work alongside them. My focus will be to enhance the communication and assist in developing a strategy to foster strong relationships with our neighbouring communities.

Scott Forsyth

In general, I think Mayor Moore and council have done a great job of getting Rossland back on track and I want to continue the momentum and direction they have set. There could be better communication. There is a lot of good information in the council meeting packages that could better promoted and made more accessible. The Rossland community is already very engaged, but they would benefit from better information.

Dirk Lewis

Through the prism of my own experience, I can only say good things about City Hall. I know many of the people working there and admire the thoughtfulness and dedication they bring to their work. I’ve also worked closely enough with local government that I understand the frustrations that are inherent in that work environment.

Andy Morel

Physically, a new or newly restored City Hall to start…. Administratively, City Hall has undergone substantial positive change in the past 4 years. A new Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer have provided Rossland with strong personnel and financial management skillsets – policy and procedures reviews and upgrades. Regular and consistent public reporting to Council has increased confidence and accountability in staffing decisions and work plans. Very pleased with the quality of work and efforts our staff, at all levels, contribute to our community. A real TEAM effort!

Janice Nightingale

I would like to bring a consistency of approach to decision making, and encourage more investigation by council members to have better understanding of our options and their costs, both short term and long term. Our community groups all provide benefits to our community well above and beyond their monetary costs, and deserve the support –fiscal, vocal or administrative – of council to help continue to bring a diversity of opportunity and cohesiveness to our community. Together, they all make us a stronger more attractive community for residents and visitors.

Stewart Spooner

I don’t see things that way. I see my role more as part of a continuum, taking my turn to contribute to the best of my ability.

5. What do you hope to accomplish by the end of your term?

Chris Bowman

Four years is not a long time. I hope to carry the torch from the existing council and assist in creating the path to even better service to our community. There is no silver bullet that will make everything rosy and there’s no crystal ball to see the future.

We have a solid base to work from and the continuation of the good things that are being done now coupled with the anticipation of greater things to come is what I am excited about. Vision, hard work and dedication to the task will get us there.

Scott Forsyth

I have no personal agenda beyond leaving Rossland well positioned to thrive into the next term.

This means building on the work the outgoing council has done. Our Official Community Plan is 10 years old and is in need of renewal.

I would like to see this done in the coming term. The recreation budget and arena issue need to be resolved to the benefit of most Rosslanders.

Dirk Lewis

If I could help foster a productive and harmonious council, while helping improve asset management policies and financial planning, then I would be happy. The ultimate goal would be to have this lead to a simple working environment, from a policy and planning perspective, for City Hall and the next Council.

Andy Morel

  • Completed Infrastructure Assessment and work plan (Municipal Asset Management Plan) with realistic completed projects.
  • Continued planning, development and build out of Mid-town Transition Lands (old Emcon lot).
  • Operation upgraded water treatment plant constructed with Warfield and Trail partners at Waneta.
  • City Hall building strategy – repair, replace, relocate?
  • Recreation facilities assessment and planning.
  • OCP and SSP review and update.
  • Continued growth and development of all levels of City staff to optimize resources for our community.

Janice Nightingale

At the end of my term, if I get an opportunity to serve, I would like to have 20+ year plan in place to guide our community forward through growth in a way that serves both our budget needs (infrastructure maintenance and upgrades) and our social needs (services and facilities) so that Rossland can be as attractive to it’s current and new residents then as it is now.

Stewart Spooner

There aren’t particular issues that motivate my candidacy, I’m just determined to provide well considered, fiscally responsible, evidence based, community focused government.

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