Meet the District of Sparwood candidates

Voters in Sparwood will vote for one Mayor and six Councillors on October 20

The District of Sparwood’s Municipal Election is on Saturday, October 20, 2018.

Voters in Sparwood will vote for one Mayor, six Councillors and one School Board Trustee.

New candidates who did not respond to The Free Press’ request for comment are: Mayoral candidate Joyce Kutzner and Councillor candidates Wendy Angus and Simon Senycz.

For more information, including candidates’ contact details, visit

Candidates for the office of Mayor

David Wilks

What is your occupation?

I am employed by Teck Resources as a Pit Labourer on “C” crew at Elkview Operations.

How long have you lived in Sparwood?

My wife and I have lived in Sparwood since 1995 when I was transferred here with the RCMP.

Why are your running for Mayor?

I enjoy serving the public. As a retired RCMP officer, former Mayor of Sparwood (2005-2011)and Member of Parliament for Kootenay-Columbia (2011-2015) being able to make your community a better place to live and raise a family is very important to me. I am proud of what Sparwood has achieved over the years and I believe there is much more to be done.

What are your goals as Mayor if elected?

Work toward having an indoor soccer facility with a walking track. Resolving all issues with Whiskey Jack Resort so that both the District and the proponent can move on. Working with the Royal Canadian Legion to relocate the cenotaph to Centennial Square and make the area more user friendly. Ensure that Mayor and council work together to provide staff with clear direction on projects and issues that arise. Most importantly, be accessible to the general public.

Joanne Wilton

What is your occupation?

General Manager of Causeway Bay Sparwood

How long have you lived in Sparwood?

Thirty-two years.

Why are you running for Mayor?

To improve life for residents. I have worked on literacy-based programs, cultural events, social events and events that highlight social awareness, such as International Women’s Day. As a business woman I have the experience it takes to make the hard decisions and see them through. As a councillor, I enjoyed being part of a team where the whole focus was improving life in Sparwood. Now I would like to lead the team with that focus.

What are your goals as Mayor if elected?

Getting some projects such as the Middletown development and Whiskey Jack golf course completed are high on my list. I would like to work with Teck on Condition 21 which addresses the livability of Sparwood.

I would like to develop amenities that would attract not only the citizens of Sparwood but the thousands of visitors that stop at our truck every year. We have a rich heritage, talented artists and cultural diversity – let’s work with that.

Candidates for the offices of Councillor

Harold “Hungry” Baytaluke

What is your occupation?

I’m a junior utility operator at Fernie Alpine Resort.

How long have you lived in Sparwood?

I’ve been in Sparwood since 1970.

Why are your running for council?

I’ve been on council on four previous occasions for a total of 12 years and have been interested in serving our community in various public positions through different committees. I am presently involved in the Library and Lilac Terrace boards.

I care about our community and how we move forward in creating an ongoing sustainable, quality and affordable lifestyle for our residents even though we have limited resources and are getting less and less assistance from the Province or federally for that matter.

What are your goals as Councillor if elected?

My goal, if successful in securing a council seat; is to work hard and diligently on all issues before council in the spirit of logical team work and respect in an open, transparent and accountable manner for the taxpayers/electorate of Sparwood as well as on the joint ventures.

A goal of mine would be to have council representation back on the various community boards as it was in the early 2000s, as I believe this gives the council a better understanding and appreciation of the needs of our local important groups for consideration.

Amy Cardozo

What is your occupation?

I own and operate Crumbs Cakery & Cafe with my husband Jeremy.

How long have you lived in Sparwood?

I have lived in Sparwood for a total of 15 years.

Why are you running for council?

It’s time for the younger generation to step up and breathe new energy into our community so that we can continue to move Sparwood forward in a collaborative and strategic manner. Sparwood council needs people who know how to get things done, people who are both business and community-minded. That is who I am and what I will bring to the table for the next four years.

What are your goals as Councillor if elected?

I am committed to revitalizing community vibrancy, improving local economy, and increasing tourism through collaborative and strategic planning. I will be approachable to the residents of Sparwood and will facilitate transparency through clear and modern communication channels.

Jason Christensen

What is your occupation?

I’m a professional accountant. For 20 years I held various management positions within Teck Coal’s finance department. Since retiring from Teck I’ve involved myself with managing offices at the golf course and The Treehouse Daycare, both located in Sparwood.

How long have you lived in Sparwood?

Our family moved here 22 years ago for employment at Teck. My wife Cheryl was raised in Sparwood and her family has lived here for 50 years.

Why are you running for council?

Sparwood is our home. Businesses here provide stable incomes, the schools provide outstanding education and lifelong associates for our children, the community provides facilities and opportunities for us to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Good people have worked hard and have sacrificed to build this community for us. Because Sparwood has given my family and me so much, I desire to give back through service as a Councillor, if it becomes my privilege to do so.

What are your goals as Councillor if elected?

Listen to all concerns and ideas. Be open, honest, approachable and willing to communicate.

Encourage and facilitate the building of a Teck central office.

Partner with business and government to build, promote and show that Sparwood is a stable, safe, clean, healthy, and friendly community for all to live.

Strengthen and stabilize our recreational, arts and cultural facilities; adding new as needs are determined.

Promote hiring, living and spending in support of the Sparwood community.

Joshua Frere

What is your occupation?

My wife and I successfully run our own business in Sparwood, Napa Auto Parts.

How long have you lived in Sparwood?

My wife and I moved to Sparwood 13 years ago from Calgary.

Why are you running for council?

I have always been very passionate about politics. I am excited to get in on the ground floor working directly with those I represent. My current occupation brings me very close to the people I want to represent. Having a young family drives me to want more for my community, to build a bright future for friends and family.

What are your goals as Councillor if elected?

I am concerned about making sure we have sustainable growth that works hand in hand with an ever growing coal industry. Being new to politics I believe in bringing a fresh new perspective to the table. We have very important decisions that need to be made for our future, and I believe that my voice will resonate what the community needs to strive for. I am very family, and small business oriented.

Art Mortimer

What is your occupation?

I retired after 30 years as a Commercial Transport Inspector with the Province and three years as Sparwood’s Bylaw Enforcement Officer (BLEO).

How long have you lived in Sparwood?

My family has lived in Sparwood since 1985 and we agree that Sparwood is a great place to live and bring up a family.

Why are you running for council?

I became interested in local government during my time with the District as the BLEO where I had the opportunity to participate in council meetings. My previous work experience has provided me the competencies necessary to make me a good Councillor. My aim in running is to use my experience to help the District create a professionally managed organization.

What are your goals as Councillor if elected?

My goals, if elected, are to:

1. Improve communications with the public;

2. prioritize the role of loss prevention and do our due diligence in recognizing hazards to eliminate risks; and

3. ensure staff has the tools necessary to complete their tasks, for example timely snow removal on our roads.

Sonny Saad

What is your occupation?

I worked for the District of Sparwood for 35 years in various roles before retiring. I then realized retirement wasn’t for me and I now drive buses for Black Gold Coach Lines.

How long have you lived in Sparwood?

Sixty-six years, I was born in Michel.

Why are you running for council?

I was on council four years ago. There were a couple of changes I would like to see happen and they didn’t happen when I was on council, and haven’t happened yet. The three years I spent on council were the best years I had, I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed being part of good decision-making and staying in touch with people.

What are your goals as Councillor if elected?

I would like the District to do everything it can to see the Whiskey Jack golf course to completion without financial aid. I would like to see the District keep more businesses in Sparwood. From talking to people, I believe that some of the businesses have left Sparwood because of the attitude of the District.

Airborne dust – I know the dust is a big problem. What I would like to see is more people who live in Sparwood come on an Elkview mine tour. If they came on the tour and saw the size of the mine, they might have a better understanding of the dust problem. I believe Teck does a very good job of monitoring dust and I know anytime there’s been major problems, Teck has gone and washed the houses. I would like people to be more understanding that this is a mining town. Without the industry, we have nothing.

Employee training – I would like to see our level of service brought back up. I believe our level of service has dropped off in the last seven to eight years. Training programs seem to be disappearing, so I’d like to see it come back to the level it was.

Ski hill – I would like to see if we could get our ski hill back. We have lots of entertainment for kids in summer, we only have ice in the winter. Not everyone can ski Fernie and not everyone wants to ski Fernie.

Community hall – I would like to see a community hall like Fernie has where we could have parties and meetings.

I’m just interested in seeing if we can make a difference.

Joe Jarina (Incumbent)

What is your occupation?

I am retired, after working for 43 years in three of the mines in the valley.

Do you intend to stand for re-election?

Yes, I feel we still have ongoing projects we need to complete, such as the Middletown crossing development.

How long have you served as councillor?

I have served a total of 13 years on council – 1980 to 1990 and 2014 to 2018.

What do you see as your biggest achievement?

My biggest achievement during my time on council, was to have helped in the financing, planning and construction of the Henry Volkman leisure centre/swimming pool in the 80s.

What are your goals if re-elected?

Some of my main goals if re-elected are to be accountable and approachable to the residents of Sparwood; to work with new council as a team, to continue to improve Sparwood for all age groups, from children to seniors; to work with new businesses in Sparwood; to complete the Middletown Crossing development with current lot owners starting to build, this includes Teck Resources and Joy Global; and to continue working with Teck on dust control from the mine.

John Baher (Incumbent)

What is your occupation?

Mining tire sales and support with Kal Tire Sparwood.

Do you intend to stand for re-election?

Yes I will be putting my name forward for re-election. I had the opportunity to learn and grow over the past four years on council and would like to continue to work with the people of Sparwood for another term.

How long have you served as councillor?

Four years, this was my first term

What do you see as your biggest achievement?

I believe we did many things during our tenure. Celebrating Sparwood’s 50th anniversary as well as showing respect by placing the bronze statue for the miners who lost their lives in the local mines are a couple things.

Personally I was very excited to be part of the start up of the Youth Action Sparwood. I believe this is wonderful for our community as it engages the youth in both their future and the future of Sparwood.

We need to keep young families here in the Valley and this definitely helps.

What are your goals should you be re-elected?

I wish to continue working with the youth as well as economic development.

We have seen little growth in new businesses coming to Sparwood and I think this should be one of the key focuses during the next term.

With the lands available as a result of finishing the Middletown crossing project started by the previous council we would now have space available to entertain new businesses and industry in our community.

Other Sparwood councillors standing for re-election:

Brad Bowen

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