Kamloops mayoral candidates outline priorities ahead of fall by-election

By Chad Klassen
June 6, 2017 - 6:00pm

KAMLOOPS — A week after Peter Milobar announced he will resign as the mayor after nine years, two candidates, current city councillor Ken Christian and TRU science professor Cindy Ross Friedman, have put their names forward.

Christian has been at City Hall since 2011, now in his second term as a city councillor. But even if he becomes the mayor for a short one-year term, Christian says he won't be tinkering with city business too much. 

"We only really have one year left on this term, and I don't think it's time to reinvest the vision," said Christian. "I think we have a good strategic plan. I think we've done good work thus far. I just want to be a steady hand on the tiller while we complete this term."

Christian says with only seven at the council table, a by-election is needed. His first order of business would be to forge a new relationship with the incoming Green-NDP government --- if it in fact remains. 

"Now we're going to have to go to UBCM and to other venues to make sure the needs and requirements of the citizens of Kamloops are represented by this new government. There's no Green or NDP member anywhere closer than Nelson now," he said. "I think we have to be innovative in terms of how we make relationships with this government. We also have the issue of the $417 million Patient Care tower at Royal Inland Hospital. I'm going to be pushing government to come good on that."

His lone challenger is Friedman, who helped on the recent NDP campaign of Barb Nederpel, an experience that encouraged her to run for mayor. 

She would like to see the city do a better job keeping up with maintanence, and representing places like the North Shore a little better. 

"I think people are concerned a little about maintenance as far as snow removal and also sidewalks and upkeeping," said Friedman. "Things are pretty good in Kamloops, but there are areas for improvements."

As for Ajax, a hot-button topic in the city, Friedman says people know where she stands in regards to the proposed mine. 

"My formal position on the proposed Ajax mine is that I'm opposed to it. I've been opposed to it for quite a long time, not from the very beginning," she noted. "As soon as I heard about it, I thought 'I better look into this a little,' and I didn't like what I had to read and had to learn, so that's why I came up with my opinion."

Christian, who's been part of a council that hasn't come forward with an official stance yet on Ajax, says council has to be open to both options. 

"I think any time someone comes to your door with a $2 billion investment, it is incumbent upon a council to keep an open mind and to look at that," said Christian. "Right now, I think we're getting close to a final report from SLR, and I'm interested in that next week."

Whoever becomes Kamloops' next mayor, Christian says they have big shoes to fill following Milobar. 

"Peter's done a great job, as Terry Lake did before him," he said. "I think Kamloops has had a succession of mayors that have really been the No. 1 fan of the City of Kamloops, and that's the role I aspire to."

Kamloops veteran remembers D-Day 73 years later