The Burns Lake and District Chamber of Commerce hosted an all-candidates forum on Jan. 12 for Burns Lake’s upcoming by-election, which will be held on Jan. 23.
In October, with Councillor Darrel Hill’s resignation, the village announced the by-elections to fill the vacant place on the council. The notice of nomination went out on Nov.9, 2020 and lasted until Dec. 1, 2020. The actual nomination period began on Dec. 8, 2020 and went on until 4 p.m. on Dec. 18, 2020.
The village received three nomination packages and the by-election will be held for the single councillor position between candidates Kristy Bjarnason, David Cummer and Joshua Platt. All three candidates attended the first village council meeting of 2021 on Dec. 5.
The all-candidates forum organized by the Burns Lake & District Chamber of Commerce, had all three candidates attend and answer several questions posed by moderator Laura Blackwell from Lakes District News. Chamber Manager Randi Amendt was also present for the forum, as the time keeper. From answering with ideas on innovative projects that would enhance life in the area, to answering questions around recycling and even the question on what would the candidates do as councillors, if they received a $1 million grant and were allowed to use it for the village any way they wanted, the candidates spoke candidly on what they viewed as important for the progress of the area.
All three candidates are relatively new to the area. Kristy Bjarnason first came around 2013 and had planned to come to Burns Lake as a vacation spot and eventually “retire way off in the future” but in 2016 when Bjarnason ended up spending more time in town, she saw herself actually being a part of the community and thought that there was no reason to wait to move to Burns Lake. After this, she took up a position at the hospital and then the theatre.
David Cummer has lived in Burns Lake for about three years and also moved from lower mainland and was a financial planner. “I want to really take part in helping Burns Lake in becoming an even greater community than it already is,” he said.
Joshua Platt, who fell in love with a Burns Lake local 20 years ago, moved to Burns Lake with his family after he completed his Masters of Business Administration over two years ago. Platt also believes that Burns Lake has a lot of potential to grow and he wants to give back to the community that took care of his in-laws and welcomed him and his family with open arms.
Community members who haven’t yet watched the all-candidates forum, can still watch it on chamber’s Facebook page.
This year’s by-election will have several modified measures to ensure a safe delivery of elections.
”We will have the polling station set up in the multipurpose room at the Lakeside Multiplex so that everyone is protected. Generally speaking the rules are, separate stations for each step of the voting process, masks will be mandatory and will be provided if needed, each voter will register by verbally declaring their eligibility to vote, each voter will be given a new pen to use for voting, sneeze guards will be in place at each station, hand sanitizer will be available, each station will be sanitized after each voter and mail in ballots are available for “anyone” wishing to vote by mail,” said the village Chief Administrative Officer Sheryl Worthing, in an email to Lakes District News.