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Jordan Sturdy acclaimed as Pemberton mayor

Seven candidates fight it out for council positions



Pemberton's Jordan Sturdy hopes that being acclaimed as mayor means residents feel he has been doing a good job.

"The last six years have really been an honour and a privilege," said Sturdy who will now be heading into his third term as mayor.

"I know that sounds trite but it's true, and I've certainly felt that I've learned a tremendous amount. The knowledge that I've gained over the last six years has put me in a much better position to help the community move forward over the next three years.

"You really do need to be, to a large degree, a generalist that's able to view the larger picture and the overall objectives and try and slowly move the community forward."

Sturdy was first elected mayor of Pemberton in the 2005 election, while he was a member of the Valley Vision: Leadership in Action group. He was re-elected in 2008 as an independent.

Since then he has overseen an active time for the Village of Pemberton, which included the 2008 Pemberton Music Festival, the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games and more recently a boundary expansion that brought about 20 new properties into the Village boundaries out of Area C of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.

The inclusion of those properties brings with it more taxation and the ability to make land use decisions about them.

While the mayor's race is over, there's a fight on for council. Seven people are vying for four positions.

Niki Vankerk, the co-organizer with Anna Helmer of the Slow Food Cycle, is one of them. She wants to focus on "relevant and responsible land use" and making the Village of Pemberton more accessible for townspeople.

"There's obviously lots of pressures now and there has been for expansion, for development," she said. "We do have a delicate balance of agricultural land, I think it's an important time to get involved and understand the issues around how we grow and do it in a responsible and relevant way."

Mike Richman, the former co-owner of the Pony Espresso (now known simply as the Pony) is another candidate for council. Now a contractor working with Whistler Resort Management, he's making recreation a key plank of his campaign.

"It's my belief, to grow a healthy community, you have to have a lot of recreation outlets," he said. "We have a ton of young families with young kids. If they want to live in Pemberton and contribute to life in it, you need to have recreation options for them."

James Linklater, Whistler Blackcomb's food safety and workplace safety coordinator for food and beverage, is also running for Pemberton council. A past-president of the Rotary Club of Pemberton, he feels that young families are underrepresented on council.

"As a long-term resident and father of a young family, I think we're grossly underrepresented," he said. "So I feel I fit that demographic and can represent the biggest group in the Village of Pemberton."

Other candidates for council include incumbents Ted Craddock and Al LeBlanc, along with newcomers Robert Szachury and Jessica Turner.

The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, meanwhile, is seeing stiff competition for two directorship positions on its board, which provides representation for unincorporated areas like the Pemberton Meadows and Furry Creek.

Candidates for Area C, which includes the Pemberton Meadows, Birken and D'Arcy, include longtime incumbent Susie Gimse, as well as farmer Geoff McLeod, former Whistler Chamber of Commerce president Louise Lundy and D'Arcy resident Lincoln Ferguson.

Candidates for Area D, which includes Britannia Beach and Furry Creek, include former Pemberton councillor Lisa Ames, former Squamish Chamber of Commerce president Maurice Freitag, former Furry Creek Community Association director Bruce Bessie and Squamish realtor Nancy Hamilton.

Debra Demare has been acclaimed as director of Area A, which includes Gold Bridge and Bralorne, and Mickey Macri has been acclaimed to Area B, which includes unincorporated areas adjacent to Lillooet.