Campaign information available, but no trustee hopefuls have announced intentions

Chilliwack school district candidates can spend more than $30,000 on campaigns for upcoming election

Civic elections take place this Oct. 20 throughout B.C. (Black Press files)

With seven seats on the school board, Chilliwack often sees a high number of candidates announce their intentions.

But so far, no candidates have confirmed their intentions to run for a seat. Last week, the Chilliwack School District posted the information candidates will need for their campaign, on a special page on their website. The candidate nomination period is Tuesday, Sept. 4 to Friday, Sept. 14 at 4 p.m. Anyone interested in running for city council or school board trustee is asked to contact the City of Chilliwack, or visit their website.

Civic elections will be held Oct. 20, and the number of people who voted for trustees was considerably lower than those who marked ballots for mayor or councillor.

That was 2014, and 13 people threw their hats into the ring to be trustee. Voters can choose to vote for up to seven people for the role, on the same ballot as their municipal options for council for mayor.

In 2014, Walt Krahn earned 6,780 votes. Neufeld earned 6,328 votes. Dan Coulter earned 6,131 and Silvia Dyck earned 5,738. All four were incumbents at the time.

The newcomer in the 2014 election was Paul McManus, who is currently serving his second year as the board chair. He earned 5,007 votes.

Incumbents Heather Maahs (4,649 votes) and Martha Wiens (4,540) filled the final two chairs at the table.

Those who ran but didn’t secure a seat included John-Henry Harter, Karen Jarvis, Marion Mussell, Ben Besler, Karen Conway and Robert Stelmaschuk.

However, after many decades as a trustee, Wiens fell ill early into her final term and passed away. That triggered a byelection held December 2015, which brought out yet another 13 candidates. Voter turnout was extremely low.

The candidates were: Alisha Atkinson, Ray Blanchette, Paula DeWit, John Edwards, Angelina Gosselin, Karen Jarvis, Brian Mielke, Marion Mussell, Bob Patterson, Megan Praat, Perry Sherstobetoff, Robert Stelmaschuk, and Lisa Thébault.

Patterson won the byelection with 833 of the 1905 votes cast, toppling even the closest candidates who had just under 200 votes each.

The Chilliwack mayoral race has begun, as current city councillor Ken Popove has announced his intentions to run for mayor. Current councillor Sue Attrill has announced she will run for re-election.

READ:Ken Popove announces run for mayor of Chilliwack

Campaign costs

All trustee candidates have numerous rules to follow regarding campaign spending. In Chilliwack, the expense limit is $30,309.64 over the campaign period, which is Sept. 22 to Oct. 20. The amounts are based on population. In nearby Fraser Cascade, expense limits are $5,000 and in Abbotsford, just over $44,000.

All candidates, regardless of whether they are voted into office, are required to submit their expense paperwork to Elections BC. Former candidate Karen Conway has been disqualified from running for office until after the 2018 election, according to that organization.

It seems unlikely for any of the candidates to spend the full expense limit, based on past documents. Expenses can include advertising including media, brochures and billboards, as well as campaign administration.

Walt Krahn reported 4,601 in expenses, with no contributions.

Barry Neufeld reported $3,143.96 in expenses, with $370 in contributions from the Fraser Valley Labour Council, and $500 from the BC Government Employees Union. The rest of his campaign was self-funded.

Dan Coulter reported $6,234.98, with multiple contributions from supporters, including CUPE 458 ($175), CUPE BC ($350), and the Fraser Valley Labour Council ($370). Other donations came from individuals, and Coulter funded about $1,100 of his own campaign.

Silvia Dyck spent $1,590.88, with no contributions.

Paul McManus spent $6,731.63, with contributions from Chilliwack Ford and PMG Auto Finance Services, $500 each, and Wheeler Cheam Realty, $100.

Heather Maahs spent $2,852.31, with $100 from her mother and the rest self-funded.

In the 2015 byelection Patterson spent $3,981.62, mostly for signs and billboards, and was self-funded.

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