Steve Bender, Chris Johnston running for re-election to Revelstoke council

City of Revelstoke: Bender, Steve; Johnston, Chris - Council candidates

Chris Johnston (left) and Steve Bender will both be seeking re-election to council this year.

Chris Johnston, who has served four terms on council, and Steve Bender, who has served two terms, both told the Times Review Monday morning they are seeking re-election.

They join Linda Nixon and Gary Starling as those seeking re-election. Phil Welock has moved to the Okanagan and is not running again, while Tony Scarcella has yet to declare his intentions.

“I find the job really interesting,” Bender said. “It’s at the level if you want to help accomplish something local, you can. It’s short range personal contact you can’t get at other government levels.”

Johnston said he is running again because he feels he can contribute “a level of experience and sense” to council.

“I think I’ve been able to provide some second though on some decisions that might have been a bit rash,” he said. “I think I’ve been able to work cooperatively with staff and with council on a positive note.”

Bender is a former radio host who moved to Revelstoke 24 years ago. He first won election to council in 2008 and was re-elected in 2011. Recently he has experience kidney problems, forcing him to undergo daily dialysis. Still, his condition is not holding him back.

He touted as accomplishments the new sidewalk on Nichol Road and the recent building up of the city’s financial reserves.

He also defended the city’s borrowing. “The reason we’ve been borrowing is we don’t have the surpluses we should have,” he said. “We’ve been working on that. And every time you work on that, a project comes along like the collapsing of the culvert on Red Devil Hill that sets you back.”

Johnston is a long-time Revelstoke lawyer who has been on council for 12 years. He is the second longest serving councillor after Tony Scarcella.

When asked about accomplishments, he brought up spending restraints, last year’s re-organization of city hall, and improved communication by the city.

“People may disagree but I think there’s been some degree of restraint on spending,” he said. “I think there’s been an improved relationship with the resort. I think there’s been an appropriate amount of infrastructure repair and replacement.”

Bender’s goal, if re-elected, is to continue to build up reserves and to deal with the highway intersection and the one at Victoria/Fourth/Townley.

“I’m not going to tell you we’re going to reduce taxes. By telling you that, that means we’re going to be taking away services that other people want,” he said. “Being fiscally responsible with them, that’s a whole other topic and of course that’s very important.”

Johnston said city spending is too high and he wants to continue to work on the budget, but that the city isn’t being irresponsible fiscally. He also wants to boost tourism in the shoulder season and find a solution for the golf course. “I don’t think it can continue the way it is.”

 

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