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Analyzing the candidates for office in West Kootenay/Boundary

When the nomination deadline closed Friday, 255 candidates had put their names forward for mayor, councillor, regional district director, or school trustee in the 17 municipalities, two regional districts, and four school districts in West Kootenay/Boundary.

We’ve sifted through the lists to come up with the following trivia.

Most candidates for mayor: Nelson, with five, followed by Grand Forks, with four. No other municipality has more than two.

Most candidates for council: Creston, Trail, and Slocan, with 13 each. Rossland has 12 and Nelson 11.

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Most combined candidates for mayor and council: Creston and Nelson, 16 each, followed by Trail and Slocan with 15 each.

Fewest candidates for mayor: The incumbents were all acclaimed in Nakusp, Fruitvale, and Silverton.

Fewest candidates: In both Montrose and Salmo there are two candidates for mayor but only five candidates for four council seats, for a total of seven. In Castlegar, only seven candidates are contesting the six council seats.

Most women running for mayor: Trail, with two. It’s also the only all-female mayor’s race. Until Lisa Pasin won the job in 2018, no woman had ever served as mayor in Trail. Near as we can tell, no woman had sought the position in close to a century either.

Most women running overall: Slocan, with 11. Slocan was also the first West Kootenay municipality to elect a woman as mayor (Emilie Popoff in 1947), the first to elect a second (Agda Winje in 1972), the first to elect a third (Madeleine Perriere in 2008), and the first to elect a fourth (Jessica Lunn, who has served since 2014). No other West Kootenay municipality has yet elected a third woman as mayor, although it could happen in New Denver next month. Slocan was also the first municipality in B.C. and second in Canada to have an all-female council, elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2011.

Highest percentage of female candidates: Salmo, where five out of seven candidates (71 per cent) are women, followed by Slocan with 10 out of 15 (67 per cent) and Fruitvale with six out of nine (67 per cent).

Longest-serving: Hans Cunningham has been director for Area G (Salmo Valley) of the Regional District of Central Kootenay continuously since 1986, making him the area’s longest-serving politician seeking re-election. However, at 36 years he’s just shy of the all-time mark held by Midway‘s Jim McMynn, who was mayor for 38 years, from the village’s incorporation in 1967 until 2005, when he did not seek re-election.

Cunningham has sometimes been opposed and other times been returned by acclamation. This time he has two challengers in Anna Bundschuh and incumbent Salmo village councillor Farrell Segall.

Running in two places: Incumbent RDKB Area D director Danna O’Donnell is seeking re-election. At the same time, she’s running for mayor of Grand Forks. Gord Zaitsoff did the same thing in 2014, running simultaneously for mayor of Castlegar and Area J director of the RDCK, but lost both races.

Running in a different place: Castlegar city councillor Dan Rye and Grand Forks city councillor Cathy Korolek are both standing again for election, but in different places. Rye, who now lives in Balfour, is seeking the directorship of Area E of the Regional District of Central Kootenay. Korolek has moved to Powell River and is among 18 candidates seeking a city council spot there.

Administrators turned candidates: Two candidates are no strangers to local government, but not from the political side. Recently retired Salmo village administrator Anne Williams is seeking a seat on council while retired Kootenay Lake school district superintendent Jeff Jones is running for Trail city council.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story erroneously stated that the mayor of Montrose had been acclaimed.

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