The political landscape in the District of Kent looks much the same as Election Day approaches.
Current Mayor Sylvia Pranger is the only candidate who has filed for mayor and has won by acclamation. She joins 36 other mayors throughout the province who won by acclamation by standing unopposed.
Only one non-incumbent candidate has added their name to the ballot for Oct. 15. Verna Dandenault does not yet have municipal office experience; she has not run for office in recent years.
Dandenault has been a resident of Agassiz since 2011. She was involved with the Agassiz Community Gardens Board for about two years and is serving her third two-year term as co-chair of the Indigenous Education Advisory Committee for Chilliwack School District 33. “I am honest, trustworthy, a good listener and a team player,” she told The Observer. “I will work for what is best for the future of our community and the people who live, work, and play here.”
Incumbent Councillors Duane Post, Kerstin Scwichtenberg, Susan Spaeti and Stan Watchorn are seeking another term.
Post is coming to the end of his third term on council. He serves on the Agassiz-Harrison Mills Drainage Committee as well as the Kent Agricultural Advisory Committee. Regionally, he serves on a number of committees, including the Fraser Valley Aboriginal Relations Committee and the Fraser Heritage Society Kilby. In the past, Post has aimed to cultivate renewed trust between the council and the residents, including opening up the budgeting process to further public feedback.
Scwichtenberg is coming to the end of her first term on council. She serves as the district’s representative on the Fraser Valley Regional Library Board.
“Having served on Kent council for the past four years, I have gotten to know and appreciate local residents and the community in new ways, as well as admire the expertise and dedication of the District of Kent staff and employees,” Scwichtenberg wrote in a statement. “I value and enjoy my work with fellow councilors, as well as our robust and respectful discussion and debate on local issues.”
She highlighted some of the council’s achievements during the past four years, including improvements to local infrastructure, steps toward creating the Regional Aquatic Centre and environmental efforts such as planting trees.
For two straight terms, Spaeti received the most votes of any non-acclaimed elected official in the District of Kent. Locally, Spaeti serves on the Parks, Recreation and Trails Committee, Health and Wellness Advisory Committee and the Regional Aquatic Centre Fundraising Committee. Spaeti is a life-long resident of the district. Her past goals for council include sustainable growth and upholding the health of community members.
Watchorn is a member of the Kent-Harrison Foundation and the Agassiz Agricultural and Horticultural Association. Watchorn has lived in the community since 1981 and has extensive municipal government experience, including four years on Kent’s council and 13 years as councillor and mayor in Harrison Hot Springs.
“I am hoping to continue to work with Council and staff at the District of Kent,” Watchorn told The Observer. “Over the last 4 years we’ve been successful in generating over $10.3 million plus an additional $10 million for a pool addition to our Community Recreation facility. This helps to keep taxes down while meeting community needs.”
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.