The nominations are in and the Smithers byelections for mayor and one vacant council seat have a full slate.
In a post on a newly-created campaign Facebook Sept. 5, Colin Bateman, manager of the Aspen Inn and Riverside Restaurant, became the first to announce his intention to run for councillor.
“I believe strongly in sustainable economic development and would always look at ways to protect, improve and attract small, medium and large businesses,” he told The Interior News.
“Transparency on each town project is key. Taking the time and working through the processes of each proposed development.”
Bateman also touched on the COVID-19 pandemic in his comments.
“We will need a diverse town council that is willing to work together to help the town rebound,” he said.
“As we phase out of the pandemic we need to ensure we are maintaining our infrastructure, adding new projects only when the time is right.”
Bateman submitted his papers on Sept. 7, chief electoral officer Dianna Plouffe confirmed.
By Sept. 10, the Town had received two more packages from Randy Bell and Sam Raven.
Bell, who ran for mayor in 2018 against incumbent Taylor Bachrach, said the issues that prompted him to run in that contest are still unresolved.
“I want to be part of the process of making some decisions that I’ve made it clear in the past that I’m not too happy with some of the decision-making with bylaws and the enforcing of bylaws and I want to be part of the team to make changes to that,” he said.
“Specifically, the bylaw to do with building permits that have created the sidewalks to nowhere and the attempt to stop CT scanner to be installed; that’s a key bylaw that I want to be on council to tackle.”
Bell came to Smithers more than 25 years ago as an IT professional and has been the owner of Done Right Computer Services since 2012.
He is a member of the People’s Party of Canada.
Sam Raven said a recent profile of her in The Interior News about her union activism prompted others to encourage her to run.
“It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but just sort of having people reach out to me and suggesting I should run and bring some progressive views to council, I just decided to go with it,” she said.
Her primary issue is housing, she said.
“I would say there are definitely set mindsets in a lot of areas and I think that we need to maybe open up our views a bit in certain areas, but also focus on some issues that are facing everybody, which is, of course, affordability, I think is first and foremost because there’s a complete lack of affordability,” she said. “We don’t have rental units, people can’t afford to buy houses, it’s a bit of a mess.”
Finally, Mika Meyer, co-owner of Bugwood Bean with husband Nick, got her nomination package in just under the wire on Friday afternoon. The nomination period closed at 4 p.m.
Meyer said she likes the direction the town is going and decided to run because, having chosen Smithers to call home, she wants to get more involved in its growth and progress.
“First and foremost, I love my community,” she said. “I’ve been involved in many facets of the community, not only as a small business owner, but as being a mother and raising my family in this community, I just feel I want to contribute to the town. I believe in service to the people and I’m committed to people and I feel like we’re on a really great trajectory with Town right now and I’d love to be part of that influence.”
Meyer grew up in the Lower Mainland before getting a degree in Natural Resource Science from Thompson Rivers University. That took her into the field, primarily in forestry, but there came a point, in 2009, just before she and Nick were to be married, she decided she was ready for a career change. They brainstormed entrepreneurial ideas and Bugwood was born.
In addition to running the business, Meyer currently works for the B.C. government in fish and wildlife.
Meanwhile, both candidates for mayor, former deputy mayor Gladys Atrill and Smithers businessman Joe Bramsleven, said they are slowly but surely getting their campaign materials together and are eager to start the campaign.
Smithers goes to the polls Oct. 17.