When the Sept. 16 deadline to withdraw rolled around, there were 13 candidates left standing for the District of Sechelt’s six councillor seats. Sixteen candidates had filed nomination forms, but three have since chosen not to run for election.
Those 13 who have stepped forward to represent Sechelt on council are:
Since growing up in Sechelt in the ‘60s and returning in 1996, candidate Warren Allan has been a real estate appraiser for more than 25 years. As he looks foward to retiring next year, he’s also eyeing a return to Sechelt council.
Allan served as a Sechelt councillor for three terms from 2002 to 2011, including as acting deputy mayor for one term. During that time, Allan says his accomplishments included supporting and voting for the acquisition and creation of Mission Point Park, the Sunshine Coast Community Forest and Seaside Centre.
“I have a good working knowledge of municipal governance and local government experience to get things done,” Allan said.
He decided to run for election after hearing concerns from community members about water, high taxes, impacts of climate change, a lack of affordable housing, the proposed new zoning bylaw, an “apparent lack of involvement with respect to the OCP, neighbourhood plans and our community associations.”
Acknowledging water as the biggest issue, he noted that is something that requires working in consensus with the Sunshine Coast Regional District. Allan also raised the need to be more proactive in climate change mitigation planning and to have councillors attending community association meetings.
Local business owner Micky Argiropoulos is turning her attention from pizza to politics. She’s lived in Sechelt for the past eight years, and owns and operates her family business Angelo’s 2 for 1 Pizza & Donairs on Wharf Avenue.
She also has 19 years of experience with Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority low-income housing, as well as “extensive training working with disabled, mental health individuals, drug addiction, and seniors.” For 11 years, she managed high-rise condominiums for companies. Argiropoulos is also a member of the Sechelt Chamber as well as a member and volunteer with the Sechelt Seniors Activity Centre. She also cited her hours at her current business, which she says have increased “due to staff shortage and continuous issues with the homeless.”
“I have adequate experience to run for council and be part of making Sechelt a healthier, vibrant community. I relate with everyone in the community and thrive on growth and new challenges,” Argiropoulos says.
The Sunshine Coast constituency assistant for the office of MP Patrick Weiler is now taking another step into the political arena, as Donna Bell puts her name on the ballot to potentially become a member of Sechelt council.
Aside from her role with Weiler, Bell’s volunteer experience during her 12-plus years on the Sunshine Coast includes experience with the Rotary Club of Sechelt, Ruby Slipper and Sunshine Coast Dragon Boat Club. After surviving cancer, Bell became a certified Cancer Journey Coach to help support others.
“We have many critical issues in our community today and they are complex,” says Bell. “Life has gotten unaffordable, people don’t feel safe and natural disasters due to climate change have become annual events.”
She pointed to her work with Weiler and experience working across government sectors.
“Intergovernmental collaboration is more important than ever with the mounting fiscal and service pressure due to an aging population, rural population changes, climate change, among other challenges.”
After several years of planning a move to Sechelt, Tom Bramble and his partner Lisa began renovations on their fixer-upper last November and now call the community home. As a new resident, Bramble told Coast Reporter that he is focusing on the election ahead, and has previously participated in the Big Brothers organization and worked as a watersports instructor for disabled students. His other experience includes 10 years of project management consulting.
“I've established an industry reputation for getting things done and solving complex problems for large organizations,” he said.
Although new to town, Bramble says, “Sechelt is my home now and I'm not someone that finds it easy to walk past a problem if I'm able to help. We are at a critical point where if affordable housing, fresh water supply and wastewater treatment aren't resolved there will be a cascading impact, the increased cost of living, climate change pressure on precious resources and substance abuse all amplify that urgency.”
The owner of Nourish Eatery, Cheryl Chang, is putting herself forward for local politics.
Since moving to Sechelt with her two children five years ago, Chang has been a volunteer at West Sechelt Elementary School and with Sunshine Coast Pride including this year’s Sechelt Pride Parade, and has served on the board of the Sechelt Downtown Business Association for the past two years.
She hasn’t served in elected office but says she has experience at the municipal government level in building and planning for the City of West Vancouver.
“I want to contribute to the kind of changes that our growing community, young families, and business owners need to thrive. As a Queer woman of colour, small business owner and mom, I believe we need to promote the local economy, create more resources for families, and bridge gaps in our community by listening to each other.”
If elected, Sechelt resident Anna Jade Chen says her priorities are working on more outdoor fitness equipment infrastructure for adults, affordable housing, lobbying for better employment opportunities, supporting green initiatives and making it easy for new immigrants to adjust in a new environment.
In her 14 years on the Coast, 13 of which have been in Sechelt, Anna Jade Chen has volunteered with a number of projects and organizations including the Strong Start program, serving on the Advisory Planning Committee in 2012 through 2014, tutoring English as a Second Language at Capilano University, and volunteering with seniors and people with disabilities. Currently she is involved with the Welcoming Community Project, helping new immigrant families adapt, and with Sunshine Coast Community Society as a translator.
After visiting the Sunshine Coast for more than a decade, Tim Horner and his wife moved their family of four to Sechelt in early 2020. Horner owns and manages a business specializing in 3D laser measuring and architectural drafting that employs four full-time technicians.
While Horner says his business and family life have kept him busy, he’s had a strong interest in local politics for many years.
“As most everyone that lives here knows, there are many issues facing our community right now — housing, infrastructure, and our environment are three big ones that continue to need immediate action. Our current council has done some fantastic work to address some of these issues. I have been listening and want to push for more of what the community wants. With my past professional experience, and ability to effectively work with others to find solutions and answers, I can help make this happen.”
With nearly 40 years in Sechelt, and multiple terms on council — both as mayor and as a councillor — Darren Inkster is running for council again. (He also ran in the 2018 election.)
“I know my community well,” he told Coast Reporter, pointing to his volunteer work with youth soccer, hockey, lacrosse and community schools.
“I have 16 years of council experience developing budgets, community based policies, and planning community based improvement projects such as roads, sidewalks, parklands, trails, and sewer and water projects,” he wrote. “I am running to represent community members who have felt unheard on issues such as public safety, affordability, water, and to help be a caring, knowledgeable steward of the changes Sechelt is facing as we grow and our families prosper. I am community minded, and promise to be a determined, hard working member of Team Sechelt!”
When asked why she is running for council, Sechelt resident Dianne McLauchlan says, “We are at a crossroads in Sechelt. There are some very challenging issues. The needs of local residents should come first.” She said she’s been hearing from friends and neighbours expressing extreme concern about ongoing water shortages, made worse by climate change.
A long-term solution she proposes is a reservoir, which she said she “will work to try to make it happen as soon as possible.” Other concerns she lists include projected sea rise and the sewage plant’s potential for flooding.
McLauchlan has been working in real estate appraisal in Sechelt full time since 2017, and has been a registered professional planner for more than 25 years. McLauchlan has worked in a professional planning capacity with government agencies, including “undertaking the Calgary Facilities Plan, Vancouver School Board Long-term Plan, Climate Resilience Planning, etc.” She was also appointed to the Sechelt Greenways Advisory Committee.
Christoper Moore’s time on the Coast goes back to 1980, when he was a part-timer between the Sunshine Coast and Whistler. He’s been a full-time resident since 2004.
Since then, Moore has worked as a realtor with Royal Lepage Sussex, done some development and is a partner in Brickers Cider with his kids.
He has also served on the District of Sechelt’s council before, from 2011 to 2014.
“I hopefully can serve again as a Councillor to help address the major issues of the day. Affordability, water, highway to mention a few,” Moore wrote.
Since moving to Sechelt from White Rock six years ago, Adam Shepherd’s retirement has consisted of volunteering as a member of the East Porpoise Bay road clean-up crew, helping the Friends of the Library fundraise through used book sales, and path building with the Hidden Grove Heritage Forest group.
While he’s never run for council before, Shepherd is president of the East Porpoise Bay Community Association (EPBCA), and the group’s liaison with the Sechelt Community Association Forum. His work with the EPBCA has included working with Sechelt council and staff on issues that affect residents including rezoning applications, speeding concerns on Sechelt Inlet Road, and noise or odour complaints stemming from the commercial businesses.
He also has professional experience with municipalities, from his time as a development manager for a shopping centre development and management company in Toronto in the ‘80s and ‘90s, working on rezoning applications with various municipalities.
“In my volunteer work for the EPBCA, I’ve spent a growing amount of time lobbying Council and Staff on some of the most difficult issues this particular Council has faced,” said Shepherd. “I feel I’ve learned a lot about compromise in bringing issues forward. I’ve learned the value of listening to a diverse range of opinions, especially those opposed to my own before making any judgement. But I also realize that Council’s role is to make those decisions in a timely manner.”
Coast Reporter will publish more information on candidates in the coming weeks. Find all of Coast Reporter’s election coverage at www.coastreporter.net/2022-civic-election.
Have questions for candidates? Email them to email@example.com.