Coun. Noreen Guenther’s recent announcement that she will seek the mayor’s seat in the upcoming municipal election was not a decision that she made lightly. The addition of her name to the mayoral race guarantees to shake things up around the council table.
“James has done a great job as mayor, so did Bob and so did Rolly before him,” says Guenther, “but people shouldn’t be in that office for too many years, and I feel that my past actions have demonstrated that I have the skills for the job.”
With both mayor James Baker and Guenther seeking the seat, council will certainly lose one of its current members.
“This election is really going to be about which candidate are voters most concerned about losing,” says Guenther.
Guenther says she is seeking the role because she wants to officially take on the role of representing the entire community. As the Oyama ward councilor she says she has always viewed Lake Country as a whole community rather than four fragmented areas and she wishes to help the District grow in that manner.
To ensure that all of council is up to date on all information she says she will work closely with all councilors to keep them updated on everything that she does on behalf of council. From meetings with individual residents to attendance at conferences, council would be kept informed at all times. As the only elected representative working full-time on council, she believes this level of communication is crucial for success.
As with municipal politicians, Guenther says collaboration with those serving in provincial and federal office is important as well. She points to the water masterplan as an example saying that without grant money the plan is not going to be doable based on the community’s population. She says council also needs to facilitate the prioritization of the masterplan with Interior Health to ensure it is in alignment with any forthcoming policy changes that the health authority may bring forward.
As President of the Southern Interior Local Government Association, Guenther says she is in an influential position in an organization that represents shared interests of 37 municipal jurisdictions. As a small town it can be difficult to be heard at higher levels of government so we need these relationships with other municipalities says Guenther.
One notable item on Guenther’s platform is the development of a tourism plan for Lake Country.
“We need to decide as a community how much tourism we want and define what ‘tourism’ means,” says Guenther.
With those questions answered council could begin planning the construction of new facilities based on the type of tourism residents want to see. Attracting tourism to Lake Country, particularly in the town centre area, would spur the long awaited development of Main Street says Guenther.
“The framework for the Town Centre is there and if we could schedule annual events that businesses could rely on for income then it will be easier for the business community to grow,” says Guenther.
Lake Country needs to develop its own identity based on the population of the community according to Guenther. As an example she suggests targeting sidewalk construction in densified areas. Putting in sidewalks everywhere just isn’t possible for a community of our size due to financial and engineering constraints associated with their construction says Guenther. She does believe however that safe pedestrian transportation is achievable throughout the community but that it may take on a different form such as pathways.
“At the end of the day I’ll always promote Lake Country as a beautiful place to live and grow,” says Guenther.