Sam Atwal is running for Sparwood council and for SD5 in the Oct. 15, 2022 elections. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)

Sam Atwal is running for Sparwood council and for SD5 in the Oct. 15, 2022 elections. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)

Sam Atwal running for Sparwood council, SD5

Atwal’s major focus is population retention via economic development

Sam Atwal is running for Sparwood council and to become an SD5 representative.

Atwal, originally from Manitoba, moved to Sparwood with his wife (who was born in Fernie) about four years ago when she got a job as vice principal of the secondary school.

He currently works at the Fording River mine and has coached youth soccer in town.

Atwal said he is running for council to create a better community environment for kids to grow up in and want to return to.

“(I) really want to try to help grow that community and have them be able to sustain home-grown Sparwoodians to be able to come back and call it home and raise their kids.”

To that end, he spoke about spurring different types of commercial economic development.

He spoke about concerns with the hospital not being open 24/7 and how to change that, and said he has spoken with health care professionals who say that it’s hard to live in Sparwood, and spoke of a lack of services such as a veterinarian and easy access to an optometrist.

“Bringing those services into town and help that growth of people wanting to stay here, but not have to leave town for every single thing that they have to do.”

He said housing is another concern, and emphasized the importance of sustained economic growth.

“Residential growth is fine, but we also need the services to keep up with that.”

He said he’s grown up in a few different mining towns, and spoke about the difficulty of economic diversification, and moving away from solely being a mining town.

“Being a little proactive and not having that as a sole economic provider for the area would be great.”

He would also like to increase mental health and trauma services for youth and families.

He spoke about keeping taxes where they are via an increased tax base through commercial development and residential growth.

As for running for two positions at the same time, he said “I think that there’s a need for that voice on both sides. There’s a need for advocacy for kids within that growth in the city, and at the same time, what we need for kids in elementary school and high school.”

He said he would be ready to hold both jobs should he be elected for them, adding that his current role has flexibility.

He said he is always willing to have conversations, and is not so ardent that things have to be done his way.

“It’s about being able to really be open and listen to peoples concerns as well and be able to shift to address what is the key concerns.”

He said he wants to bring youthful energy to council.

“At the end of the day, you’re here to make sure the constituents are happy and satisfied and taken care of.”

READ MORE: Editor’s note: Calling all local candidates


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josh.fischlin@thefreepress.ca

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Election 2022Municipal electionMunicipal Governmentmunicipal politics