While election candidates crowded municipal and school board races in Chilliwack, all seven incumbent electoral area directors at the Fraser Valley Regional District board are also facing at least one challenger.
Area C director Wendy Bales, a strong voice for residents in the Lake Errock area who oppose gravel mining and adoption of a regional plan to identify mine locations, is facing two opponents, corrections employee Colin Faulkner and realtor Mel Waardenberg.
Area B director Dennis Adamson, an equally vocal critic of gravel mining in the region, is being challenged for his Yale-area seat by Andy Bishop, a freelance sound assistant working for B.C. films and musical groups.
While gravel mining has been far and away the most controversial issue in recent years around the FVRD board, other election candidates say cutting through “red tape” at the regional district tops their campaigns.
In Area A, Jim Fougere, who is challenging long-time director and former FVRD chairman Lloyd Foreman, said the Boston Bar-North Bend communities need “new blood” and “new ideas” to create much-needed jobs.
“The regional district has to be more accessible,” he said. “We need to be helpful to people who come with new ideas.”
Fougere sought election twice before to the FVRD board, but he said area residents have encouraged him to run again.
“Even if I don’t win, at least I tried,” he said.
Elementary school principal Taryn Dixon said there is no single issue that compelled her to run against Dave Lamson, the incumbent in Area E that includes the Chilliwack River Valley, Columbia Valley and Cultus Lake.
“I love living up here, and I want to do what I can to give back to the community,” she said.
Dixon said how to manage growth in the area where gravel mining and logging vie with protection of the area’s natural assets is a top concern for her.
“Our areas are beautiful and we’d like to preserve the rural landscape,” she said.
Al Stobbart, the incumbent in Area G, which includes Deroche, Dewdney, Nicomen and Hatzic Islands and parts of Sumas Mountain, is being challenged by Lea Rickets.
Dick Bogstie, the incumbent in Area F, which includes Hatzic Prairie and McConnell Creek, is being challenged by Ray Boucher.
Bill Dickey, the incumbent in Area D, which includes Popkum and Bridal Falls, is being challenged by Michael Henshall.
While electoral area directors are elected directly by residents, municipal directors from Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission, Agassiz and Hope are appointed to the FVRD board from among those who win council seats in their respective communities.
Election day for all municipal councils, school boards, electoral areas and Cultus Lake Park board is Saturday, Nov. 19.