‘What do the people really want?’ is question possible City council candidates are asking


Six months out, would-be politicians are warily eyeing November’s civic election, waiting and watching before they decide to set foot on the campaign trail.

Saljit Sadrha.

Daljit Sadrha.

Daljit Sadhra has firmly made up his mind to take a run at office.

“I’ve thought about it for years,” he said. “I think it’s time for a fresh approach, a business approach.”

Sadhra grew up in Kamloops and has a relative in politics – a cousin serves as a City councillor in the Lower Mainland – factors that convinced him this is the right time.

“To give back to the city of Kamloops, I would love that opportunity.”

He’s already assembling an election team and plans to launch his campaign in late summer. A single man, he’s going to take a leave of absence from his job in small business/commercial finance at the TD Bank for the election and is confident he can balance his banking career with the demands of a seat on council.

With the recent resignation of Coun. Nancy Bepple, who was forced to step aside for health reasons, there will be at least one vacant seat around the table. Sadhra expects a large slate with numerous candidates lining up, but no one seems particularly anxious to lead the charge. There are no galvanizing civic issues comparable to the Riverside Park parkade issue last time.

Denis Walsh, who served on council from 2008-2011 and considered a run for the mayoralty before the last election, is thinking about both possibilities again.

“I’m considering it,” he said. “I didn’t think I’d say that word.”

He said a lot of people have approached him, but the city businessman is carefully weighing his current responsibilities. After leasing the Crossroads Inn on Seymour Street, he bought a Travelodge in Salmon Arm and continues to operate Movie Mart in Kamloops. If he were to challenge Mayor Peter Milobar, he’d have to prepare for more than the part-time commitment of his first stint on council.

“I would definitely need to look at my situation carefully.”

Westsyde grower Dieter Dudy came close to toppling Milobar for the mayoralty last time. This time, he’s set his sights on a council seat.

Making the commitment to campaigning, never mind a three-year term if they succeed, is a major one personally and financially for candidates.

Bob Dieno, past-president of the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce, is certainly eyeing the possibility of running for council. He said he gained valuable experience leading the chamber over the past year. He’s president of Nu-Tech Fire & Safety.

“I’m absolutely exploring the opportunity of serving,” Dieno said. “I need to sit down and talk to staff, and see what time commitment is involved and if it’s going to be a good fit.”

Chris Ortner, a forest industry executive who ran for council three years ago, plans to make his decision in September. Campaigning is all-consuming, he noted from experience, and he wants to size up the slate before jumping in.

Ray Nyuli, an entertainment manager, ran unsuccessfully for councillor in 2011 and may take another run at the job.

“I have people encouraging me to run,” he said. “I have not decided.”

He’s keeping an eye on the body politic, looking for some assurance that his candidacy would be a worthwhile effort. He wants to serve the city as an effective councillor, but wonders whether he could find a large enough constituency of support.

“When you look at the level of support last time and some of the preferences, it makes me wonder whether there’s enough support,” he said. “It’s almost more a case of what do the people really want?”

Other possibilities?

Peter Sharp, a former two-term councillor who last campaigned for the B.C. Conservatives in the provincial election, may be on November’s slate along with retired firefighter Andy Philpot.





About Mel Rothenburger (9634 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on ‘What do the people really want?’ is question possible City council candidates are asking

  1. Lyman Duff // April 9, 2014 at 8:24 PM // Reply

    Fine and dandy people want to “run” for council, however what are the various “platforms” these people stand on?
    Unless I get a very clear message on what each candidate will propose, including their vision for Kamloops’ future, they will certainly not get this family’s vote.

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