Outgoing Lake Country Coun. Barbara Leamont attends one of her last public events last week in Lake Country

ELECTION 2014: Barabara Leamont steps aside in Okanagan Centre

District of Lake Country: After 12 years councillor Leamont not running for re-election

After twelve years representing the people of Carr’s Landing, Barbara Leamont is in her last month as a municipal politician, having decided not to run for re-election in this year’s civic election.

Leamont and fellow councillor Jamie McEwan have decided against running this year with Leamont saying it’s time for someone else to take the ball in Carr’s Landing.

“I thought 12 years is a long time, and with a four year term coming up this around, it was time for me to step aside and for someone else to step forward,” said Leamont after watching the district unveil three major infrastructure projects last week.

Leamont’s seat at council will be taken over by Matt Vader, who will be acclaimed as the new representative for Carr’s Landing, with no other candidates running in the ward. In Lake Country’s unique ward system of electing officials—it’s the only ward system in B.C.—candidates running in one of the four wards are elected by folks directly in the ward. With no one else in Carr’s Landing stepping forward, Vader will run without opposition.

“I would like to thank Barbara for 12 years of dedication representing Carr’s Landing,” said Vader. “She is leaving big shoes to fill, I will do my best to represent Carr’s Landing with the same dedication as Barbara. I am excited to join my fellow members who are elected to council November 15th.”

For Leamont, it’s the end of a long tenure in Lake Country council chambers during a time where the community really grew from the time she started as the only woman on council.

“I think women bring a different dynamic and a different point of view to council,” said Leamont in an interview with the Lake Country Calendar. “I’m proud of a number of things that the different councils accomplished during my time. Maybe one council started something and another one finished it off. There were always challenges to a certain point. But it was how you looked at those challenges and how you found a way to solve them that I enjoyed.”

Among the accomplishments Leamont is most proud of is opening up of the water-front access in Carr’s Landing and allowing public access to Okanagan Lake, both in Carr’s Landing and Okanagan Centre, where the Greenspace linear park has become more open to the public than ever before. And she says the friendships she made along the way with the folks she worked with is what she will miss.

And while it may be the end of the road at council for Leamont, it certainly won’t be the last time she steps forward to help the community she moved to in 1992. Her husband Harvey remains active in Carr’s Landing as well as with other community efforts such as ArtWalk and the museum. And Leamont plans to remain involved in the community as well. It’s a community the native of the Fraser Valley has always enjoyed.

“When we first moved here as opposed to living on the coast, one of the first things we noticed was when you walked into a store, the clerk would make eye contact and ask how you were,” she said with a smile.

It’s that small town philosophy that will keep Leamont in the community and working behind the scenes to make it better, even if she isn’t on district council.