KAMLOOPS — Chase is a community of more than 2,200 people, according to the 2016 census. But there are five candidates taking a run at the mayor's chair.
The incumbent Rick Berrigan is running again, in large part, to ensure the four-laning of the Trans-Canada Highway through Chase is completed to the Village's benefit.
"I've been involved in that since the start of it and I've been meeting with the ministry and I see a lot of changes from the beginning to where we are now in the sense of the scope and the timelines," said Berrigan, who added the earliest construction will start is two years. "I feel I need to keep the momentum going and I need to put a little pressure on them to let them know this community won't take just anything."
The NDP government has indicated there will be only one entrance point into Chase once construction is complete. The lone female mayoral candidate, Bev Iglesias, fears Chase's downtown core will be greatly impacted if the province only offers the village one entrance point on the west side of town.
"We need to bring back some public consultation on this," said Iglesais. "We need to bring back the access to Shuswap Avenue [on the east side of Chase]. That is our main core. That has been our main drag into Chase. It used to be the TransCanada Highway. Without that, our downtown sector could cause a demise, which has already kind of started."
David Lepsoe was encouraged to run after one of the largest tax increases in the Village's history last year, he says, averaging 15 per cent a household based on increased assessment values. But he's also focused on the highway expansion.
"We need to get some niche opportunities in Chase. Tourism, we have an awesome opportunity being the entrance to the Shuswap and we need to market that, so when the people are coming by on the highway they're going to stop in," said Lepsoe.
Former councillor Rod Crowe has the highway improvements in mind, as well as a replacement for Greyhound. But his top priority is an extended care facility in Chase, so seniors can remain in their community.
"Locally here, I have a neighbour on the next street over, her husband is about 85. He's in a care facility way out by the Kamloops airport," said Crowe. "She's in her 80s, so it's going to be challenging for her to get there, especially in the winter."
The final candidate, Harry Danyluk, is a former mayor of Chase from 2002 to 2011. Danyluk wants to see improved infrastructure, including new roads, and better fiscal management.
"No. 1 is spending. We've been overspending. We've got some problems with our spending. So watch our spending, spend what we need and not what's nice," said Danyluk. "I announced at the all-candidates that I would run, if elected, on $1 a year for the next four years, plus my expenses."
Residents of Chase will choose their mayor on October 20.
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