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Richman to seek third term as Pemberton mayor

At least two candidates have announced they will vie for Village’s top spot ahead of nomination period
Pemberton Mayor Mike Richman

Mike Richman is seeking a third term as Pemberton’s mayor.

It wasn’t, however, a given that the longtime resident and business owner would throw his hat in the ring.

“I had to take some time to make that decision, but I decided I’m all in,” Richman said. “There were a couple of sides to it. I had to check in with my life partner—we’re about to become empty nesters this year. It’s a time of change for us and I wanted to make sure this wasn’t something that was going to interfere with our life plans.”

The other consideration: he never wanted to be a career politician.

“I [always] considered myself an interested community member who wanted to step up and do the job, but stepping a third time, I had to think about that,” he said. “Do I still bring the same passion and energy to the job? I believe I do.”

While his accomplishments over the last eight years are not his alone, he’s careful to point out, Richman highlights a few key projects he, council, and staff have achieved, including the Friendship Bridge and Trail, securing recreation land that is now home to two soccer fields and a bike skills park, the downtown enhancement project, and securing funds for both a transit hub park-and-ride and doubling childcare spaces.

“They’re all projects we managed to accomplish with next to no taxation involved,” he added. “We worked really, really hard to partner up and find other sources of funding. There’s been very little pressure put on taxpayers to make these things happen. I’m really proud of that.”

Looking to the future, Richman said the challenges facing the community are markedly different from those in his first term. Pemberton has grown 32.4 per cent since 2016, according to the most recent census, and that has put pressure on the village.

“We need to face the fact that growth and change are coming and ensure our community planning in a healthy manner,” he said. “The biggest tug of war is managing that growth while maintaining the personality and unique character of this valley that drew so many here in the first place. How you balance that is a really big thing.”

That includes grappling with things like the housing supply and affordability, climate change, and emergency preparedness, he added.

To that end, regional transit is a goal Richman said he plans to continue working towards, if reelected.

“I’ve worked really hard with my counterparts and partners up and down the corridor and the province and I promise you I will continue hammering on that door as long as I’m in that position,” he said. “I think regional transit is so important to our corridor and community.”

While the nomination period for municipal elections is open from Aug. 30 to Sept. 9, so far only longtime Pembertonian David MacKenzie has put his name forward for mayor.

Richman was acclaimed in the 2018 election.

“Having multiple candidates is certainly good,” he said. “It brings attention to the issues. It brings interest from residents and gets them engaged. I look forward to that part. I’ll find as many ways as I can to interact with residents, hear their concerns, thoughts, ideas. I think that part of the campaign is really positive.”

Municipal elections in B.C. are set for Oct. 15.