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Municipal Election 2014: LePape, Newell battle it out in Area F

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
November 7th, 2014

Retired teacher Tom Newell and Kevin LePape battle it out to see who will replace Ron Mickel in Area F — Beasley, Taghum, Willow Point, Nasookin, Grohman, Crescent Beach, Sproule Creek, Six Mile and Bonnington — in the upcoming Regional District of Central Kootenay elections Saturday, November 15.

The now retired LePape was born and raised in Montréal. For 40 years he was self-employed in packaging, warehouse equipment sales and distribution.

He has lived in Nelson for almost six years after visiting for many the Heritage City for many years — the last five on the North Shore at the end of Johnstone Road.

LePape enjoys skiing — alpine and Nordic — cycling, hiking, paddling as well as rescuing and rehabing dogs.

LePape prides himself on being a “hands-on, action-oriented, positive solution seeker” with a “highly developed internal (BS) meter and extremely low tolerance for self-serving hypocrisy.”

“I mean what I say, and I say what I mean,” he said.

Newell is also retired having spent many years in public education as a teacher/counsellor and most recently as the President of the Nelson and District Teacher’s Association.

As well as being part of the School District #8 Budget Committee, Newell also helped manage 700 units of social housing with the BC Housing Management Commission.

Newell has spent the past 25 years as a volunteer, managing the Heddle Road domestic water system with the Six Mile Water Users Community.

The Nelson Daily contacted both candidates with questions to help readers decide where to mark the “X” at the polling station Saturday, November 15.

The Nelson Daily: RDCK spending and transparency seems to be an issue for many residents. Do you feel the RDCK is doing a proper job of allocating funds, and if not, what would you change?

Kevin LePape: The RDCK has not been sufficiently transparent in a number of areas, budgeting/taxation and purchasing are the most important. I will advocate at the Board for actual taxation projections to be included in the financial plans available online.

I will further advocate for an end to sole sourcing and the publicizing of all awards over a minimum dollar amount, likely $10,000. The awards information will include the pricing from all bids and the reasons for choosing the winner. It’s OUR money and we have every right to know what is being done with it.

Tom Newell: I have spoken to many many people during this campaign and in fact the RDCK is not generally seen as a non-transparent and over-spending organization. On the contrary, informed residents do acknowledge the time and effort of the RDCK staff and Directors in taking on the challenges, especially those of a local nature; for example helping with the renovation of the Taghum Community Hall.

That being said, I have spent my entire professional career building transparent systems so that all partners and stakeholders know what is going on. I plan to regularly report out on all financial activities in the Area, including all grants provided through the Director’s office.

As for fund allocation, each service that Area F tax dollars go toward will be reviewed by me. Small savings in many budget lines can create funds allowing us to begin and continue to take on some of these large challenges.

The Nelson Daily: How do you think climate change will affect the residents in your area and what are you prepared to initiate during your four years of office to address it?

Tom Newell: Climate change is a huge issue for all of us. I want to focus on one aspect here in this article. It is anticipated that low-flow water levels in the Kootenay Lake watershed (streams flowing into our lake) will be 30 percent lower over the next 20-30 years.

This will affect so many of our water users communities. Those intakes may not be protected from the winter freezing. Silt build-up and turbidity may well increase. These are the real hard facts that we face. So part of the “water quality” issue is potability and part is appropriate infrastructure, right from the intake on through the entire system.

And with that reduced flow reality, then water conservation from each and every user becomes an even larger imperative.

These are all complex and diverse issues. There is no simple patterned response for them. I accept the challenge of this complexity and want to be part of leading Area F into this complex future.

Kevin LePape: The long-term projections of longer, hotter summers and warmer winters that seem to be the consensus for this region as the climate changes are all I know of.

I think moving forward on drinking water safety speaks to that in part, forest fire interface fuel mitigation is another immediate step that benefits regardless.

But to be frank, my goals are limited to managing the grant funding to ease the burden of water system transition, improving RDCK support for the regional economy, finding and implementing efficiencies in the RDCK operations (did you know that the Board spent $120,000 or more in 2014 on itself sending ALL 20 directors plus additional staff to two conferences?)

I think we can send a small delegation and find better things to do with the $100,000 we’ll save) and fix the million dollar screwing we are getting from the province and MMBC on recycling.

I will focus and work relentlessly on the big, important things full time for four years.

Election day in the RDCK is Saturday, November 15, 2014 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Click here for a location in your area.


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