KAMLOOPS — The deadline to sign up Liberal members in the Kamloops-North Thompson riding has passed, ending Friday afternoon, and now the three candidates set their sights on securing the nomination and the right to go up against NDP representative Barb Nederpel, the Green's Dan Hines, and Communist Party candidate Peter Kerek in next May's provincial election.
WATCH: Full report by Chad Klassen
Over the course of the last two months, the candidates have been on the campaign trail, travelling to different centres in the Kamloops North-Thompson riding.
"It's obviously a big riding," says one of the three nominee Peter Milobar. "It stretches just north of Blue River, but I'm used to being on the road and travelling around, either as the Regional District chair or as Mayor of Kamloops, so it's been great getting out in the communities."
Milobar, while balancing his current role as the city's mayor, has been talking to constituents in Barriere and Clearwater and other key locations, including Sun Rivers and Sun Peaks.
"It's a pretty diverse riding in terms of needs and what people have," says Milobar. "So when you look at a Sun Peaks, their issues are different as it relates to housing access and other issues they have with infrastructure. In Barriere and Clearwater, it's more about roads and your traditional town issues, or high-speed Internet, access to extra power on the grid."
North Shore Business Improvement Association director Steven Puhallo, one of Milobar's two competitors, has also been speaking with residents in the riding and says the biggest issues are access to health care, jobs, and a good standard of living.
"In Vavenby and Blue River, a lot of it is transportation infrastructure, as well as health care and education infrastructure, and making sure they have nurses, doctors, teachers, and those types of professionals that small towns have a hard time recruiting," says Puhallo.
Business developer Mike Grenier, who joined the race two weeks after both Milobar and Puhallo, says he doesn't feel he's lost any ground.
Talking to constituents and business leaders up the Thompson valley, Grenier says improvements to Highway 5 from Kamloops to Vavenby seem to be important, but also access to modern technology.
"Equally as important was the information highway, and the absolute frustration that people can't participate in the Internet economy," notes Grenier. "If we're going to be attracting doctors and lawyers and the business people, and young families up the valley, we've got to have this information highway access."
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