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Campaign underway for Pemby hopefuls

Helmer eyes return to council, first time out for Kosky
CAMPAIGN TRAIL Jennie Helmer and Kiyoshi Kosky are two of eight candidates for municipal council in Pemberton. photos submitted

With the nomination deadline passed, municipal campaigning is underway in Pemberton.

There are eight candidates for council in the November 15 election, of which just one — councillor James Linklater — is returning.

Jennie Helmer, however, has some municipal government experience under her belt, having served as a councillor from 2005-2008.

"I took the last couple of terms off, and it feels like a good time to get involved again," Helmer said.

"There's lots going on at the village, lots of staff transition and financial issues that I think I can help with."

Helmer described her first term on council as a "massive learning experience," and is looking forward to another opportunity to serve the Village of Pemberton.

If elected, Helmer would like to reign in village spending and have a more open discussion about boundary extension, "and what it means for everybody from a financial perspective, as well as from a living perspective," she said.

She'd also like to focus on food security and enhancing Pemberton's trails and recreation opportunities in an affordable way.

"I think we have a really active community, and we're so fortunate because it's such an engaged community," she said.

"Everybody wants to be involved, and I think we can tap into that more than we are, so I think I would make that a priority for sure."

As an advanced care paramedic, Helmer said she's well suited to deal with stressful situations and make quality leadership decisions.

"We have to lead huge teams of people, we deal with a lot of really sick people, and I am used to being under really stressful situations and making decisions," she said.

"(Local government) decisions have to be made for 20 years down the road... how much debt are we going to saddle the village with?"

Kiyoshi Kosky is making his first bid for a seat at the council table. Protecting Pemberton's water supply, practicing better public engagement for important topics and fostering strong relationships between governments in the valley are some of his main priorities.

"I think another big piece is decreasing our spending, so our income exceeds our expenditure," Kosky said.

"Municipal hall will be run like a business, so our spending does not exceed the tax base."

Kosky works as an educational assistant and community support worker in Pemberton, as well as an independent sales distributor.

"I'm a person that believes strongly in participatory action, participating in the community and being part of the community," he said.

Growing up on Cortes Island, he was instilled with a strong sense of community involvement, and that the interest and wellbeing of the community is first and foremost in decision making, he said.

"That was a very big piece of my upbringing," he said.

"I grew up learning that being transparent — meaning giving all information about topics — is very important to make informed decisions... we have to ensure that we are bringing people into the fold in what we're doing, because that creates a very strong community."

Kosky also listed his commitment, communication skills and integrity as qualities that make him well suited to be a councillor.

"I'm a very principled man, and I believe that having integrity means that you represent the community, first and foremost, in the interest of the community," he said.

"That should be one of the top three things that you're looking at when you make your decision. Is this good for everybody as a whole?"

Check back with Pique in the coming weeks for more Pemberton council candidate profiles.

Municipal elections take place across the province on Saturday, Nov. 15.

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