Any way the chips fall, there will be a few new faces at Pemberton’s council table next month.
Six council hopefuls will compete for four seats on municipal election day, Oct. 15, including four first-time candidates and one former councillor. As the only incumbent in the running now that the nomination period has closed, Ted Craddock hopes voters are keen to welcome back at least one familiar face.
“Every election, it’s about the community filling in my report card and saying, ‘Have you done the job, Ted? Have you looked after us?’” he said. “And are you willing to make that commitment going forward?”
To the latter, Craddock’s answer remains a resounding “yes.”
As far as campaigns go, it’s far from Craddock’s first rodeo. His journey with municipal politics started in 1985 as a school board representative in Fort Nelson, before eventually moving on to the District of Squamish’s council table. He has called the Village of Pemberton (VOP) home for 18 years, and has spent much of those years as an elected councillor (Craddock briefly stepped away from the council table in the 2014 election, before re-entering the fray in a 2015 byelection).
So what keeps him coming back to the council table?
“Sometimes you find a job you just really love to do and enjoy getting up in the morning [for],” he said. “I love interacting with the people in the community and looking for questions from them, talking about politics and what’s happening in the community. And if I can’t answer the questions, I’ll go back to administration and get back to people.”
He’s also hoping to see a few projects through to their completion, like the Harrow Road affordable housing project, a daycare extension, new amenities at Den Duyf Park and a park-and-ride lot, for example.
“On the books right now, we have in excess of 150 full-time rental units that could come to council for third or final reading, either later this year or the first part of next year,” he explained. “I think that’s going to help alleviate any rental concerns in the community—and a lot of those rentals will be at less than market rate, depending on someone’s income or disability. I’m excited to see those come to council for final readings.”
That said, Craddock acknowledged Pemberton’s growing population and the importance of striking the right balance between growth and growing too quickly. That encompasses everything from keeping water, sewage, and road infrastructure in good working order, to hiring new municipal staff.
“It is a real challenge,” he said. “We don’t get a lot of money from a one-per-cent increase in taxes—it’s about $20,000, so it’s not that we can take on a huge amount of projects in short periods of time. It’s a situation where we have to look at reserves and be wise with our money, and certainly aware of how tough it is for families right now. That’s one of my major concerns.”
Craddock said he’s ready to tackle the challenges associated with Pemberton’s water supply as well, after one of the municipality’s three available wells was decommissioned. The VOP recently applied for funding for a new water treatment plant with a ballpark price tag of $8.6 million, while Pemberton’s new municipal government will be tasked with finding another water source for the community in the years ahead.
Craddock sees his knowledge and experience as a councillor as an asset when it comes to solving those problems, as well as his skills working with budgets.
But before council can get to work on any big-ticket items, they’ll need to set out their priorities for the next four years and get on the same page, Craddock said.
“Just like last time, we’re going to have at least three new people on council, and it takes time to gel,” he said. “The council table will never completely agree on everything, but if we can sit there and work together to come up with a solution for the community, that’s what I’m really looking forward to.”
Craddock joins Derek Graves, Jennie Helmer, Katrina Nightingale, Laura Ramsden and Eli Zysman in the race for Pemberton’s four council seats. Check back with Pique in the coming weeks for more Pemberton election coverage.