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Meet the Revelstoke city council candidates, part 1

The first instalment of an ongoing 2011 Revelstoke municipal election series introducing Revelstoke city council candidates



A total of 13 candidates will be vying for six spots at the Revelstoke city council table in the Nov. 19 municipal election. Nobody challenged incumbent mayor David Raven, meaning he will surely be acclaimed for another term.

In addition to other election coverage, over the next five weeks the Revelstoke Times Review will be running a question and answer series that will highlight candidates’ views and positions on the issues. We’ll print their answers directly.

If you have a question you’d like to ask the candidates, we encourage you to get in touch with us.

This week, we’re starting with a basic introduction. We’ve included the first half of the candidates this week, and will follow up with the remainder next week. Here’s the question we’ve posed:

Introduce yourself and your relevant experience that will guide you as a councillor, then tell us why you’ve decided to run for council

Chris Johnston

My name is Chris Johnston. I am in my mid fifties and have been a resident of Revelstoke since 1986 and have raised and continue to raise my family here.

I am a three-term city councillor with the City of Revelstoke and I feel that I have some of the experience and knowledge of the workings of the city and local government to serve the varying interests of the different parts of the community to help work toward an even better future for our community. I appreciate and value the old and look forward to the new.

I am a lawyer, trained mediator, business owner (times two), homeowner, landlord and tenant. I understand where the money comes from to provide the services that the city provides and where that money goes.

I feel that I have made some contributions in my past council terms but also feel some frustration with things that I think could be done better and am interested in working to see things done better.

I believe that Revelstoke has a bright future but it will not come without work and cooperation from everyone in the community.

I bring a thoughtful and balanced approach to council.

Linda Nixon

Hi this is Linda Jean Nixon, I am a registered nurse who has lived In Revelstoke for 28 years. We chose to move here to buy a business and raise our two boys. I am known for my common sense and integrity. I have decided to run for council for two reasons. I am semi-retired and have the time to commit to the reading  research and networking needed to make good decisions. I want to give back to the jewel of a community that our family has loved from day one. My values are family-centered and I come from a large family in the Kootenays that has a third generation small business. Working in the health care field both here and other locations in B.C. I have led teams, developed programs and policies. I was an Adminstrator before regionalization of healthcare and talked directly to Victoria ministry staff to build the solarium at Moberly Manor, to start the Adult Day program and provide Volunteer Program. I worked with other nurses in the community to start the Hospice program. My compassion and caring ethics led me to take many management and clinical courses. I am a life long learner. I am currently working as a semi-retired nurse at Mount Cartier Cottage. In November I am travelling to Victoria for an intensive week long clinical course. I look forward to serving the residents of Revelstoke and I am interested in healthy neighbourhoods that are safe and vibrant.

Jim Ritchie

My name is Jim Ritchie, I am 62 years old, and have been a resident of Revelstoke for 30 some years. I’ve been a businessman for 25 years managing Columbia Chevron, and for the past two years have worked with the RMR construction project. I am very proud of our community and believe that it has been a great place to raise my seven children. During this time I have seen our city undergo many changes, some with very positive results and some with not so. Over the past couple of years I have become increasingly concerned with a number of issues we are facing and some of the decisions that have been made, and this has prompted me to want to get involved on the council level where I feel I can utilize my abilities and experience in serving my community.

I have been President of Big Eddy Water board for a couple of terms, served on other leadership boards, been a retail businessman for many years, have knowledge of both construction and development plans and have served in many volunteer positions. I have a deep sense of commitment, a strong work ethic and desire to serve.

I believe we need strong leadership with a fresh approach and ability to make tough decisions if we are going to be able to move ahead in development while looking out for the concerns of our residents, making Revelstoke a place where they will want to stay and others will want to come.

Jody Simm

Hello everyone, my name is Jody Simm, and I’m one of your candidates for city councillor in the upcoming municipal election. I’m 34 years old, and I’ve lived in Revelstoke and worked in the local forest industry for the last six years. In the last four years we’ve seen a lot of change; more change than I’ve seen in any community before in such a short time. We have an amazing new ski hill, a lot of great new backcountry recreational areas being developed and a more diverse arts, music and cultural scene.  We’ve also all faced a lot of challenges with the rapid change, and as a worker, a parent and a mobile home park resident (making me  both a renter and a property tax payer), I’ve experienced many of the same challenges as you.

I’ve decided to run for council because I’d like to help to make Revelstoke an easier place to live for everyone. It may well be impossible to get rents and property values back to where they were five and six years ago. But there are still lots of people from the working class who’ve managed to hold onto their homes, and even to buy homes, and I’d like to work to get our property taxes at a more affordable level so that we can afford to stay. I believe we can do this, while improving our infrastructure, making cost effective environmental, social and cultural initiatives, creating a more financially inclusive city for everyone.

Gary Starling

I came to Revelstoke in 1980. I was actually travelling through on a holiday and decided to stay an extra day. One day turned into two, two into a week and finally I made a decision to quit my job and stay in Revelstoke. I have a passion for Revelstoke that is typical of those who live here.

I have been with CP Rail since 1980 and I have worked as a locomotive engineer since 1985. Recently I have taken positions within our union, (Secretary Treasurer & Legislative Representative). These positions have given me experience in both finances as well as government offices. I work with members to resolve problems with WCB, Transport Canada and others.

I decided to run for councillor because I am concerned about the future of Revelstoke. I believe the city is a great place to work, live and raise a family. In the last few years we have seen our taxes and cost of living rise at an alarming rate. At the same time we continue to spend. This has put tremendous pressure on business and resident taxpayers. As well it is undermining the dreams of those who want to make a home in Revelstoke but are finding the cost of living stifling.

I want Revelstoke to continue to be a desirable and affordable place to live. For those reasons and others I have decided to run for councillor.

Murray Velichko

My wife Hollie, children Griffin (8) and Andie (5), and I (40) have called Revelstoke home for nearly five years. I am a professional engineer and have had an extensive career spanning multiple disciplines and roles, including leading large teams. We moved to Revelstoke not only because of the surrounding environment, but for the welcoming community and the wealth of opportunities. As a business owner (Frisby Ridge Construction), I have had the opportunity to work in the community and have constructed a couple of the new buildings in town such as the brick building on the corner of 2nd and Orton. I have worked with the Revelstoke Community Housing Society in building their first ‘affordable’ housing project and I understand the social economic concerns that are apparent in Revelstoke.

I am running for city council as I believe that we require a fresh perspective in council to reenergize economic development while maintaining fiscal responsibilities and social and environmental concerns.

Phil Welock

Thank you for allowing us to introduce ourselves in this manner.

My name is Phil Welock and I am running for my second term on Revelstoke council. I am 63 years of age.

I moved here with my family in 1987 and was Government Agent at the historic Courthouse until retiring in 2002. I then bought City Transfer which has been providing freight services since 1915.

Once the business was sold in 2007, I began to look for another challenge.

Having been in public service all my life, council was a natural!

I was able to meet most citizens in one way or another and have a good idea of what the community needs but that is changing!

Our twins have moved off to other communities to pursue their careers but still are proud to call Revelstoke their home. My wife Lynne is manager of RBC and shares our love for this beautiful, safe, clean little city.

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See the Oct. 26 issue of the Times Review for  the second half of council candidate introductions, and subsequent questions in the following weeks.