After a seven year hiatus from a position on the Thompson Nicola Regional District Board of Directors, Barriere resident Bill Kershaw will be back as Director for Area ‘O’ after his swearing in ceremony Dec. 6.
The Chief Election Officer announced preliminary election results for the TNRD byelection for Area O, last Saturday evening, surpising many with the extremely poor voter turnout shown at the polls.
Out of 1,300 eligible voters in Area ‘O’, only 245 eligible votes were cast. Bill Kershaw won the election with 127 votes in his favour, while running mate Mike Fennell received 118 votes, losing by nine.
Kershaw says he appreciated everyone’s support during the election, and that the poor voter turnout was surprising.
“That’s sad,” said Kershaw, “As a regional director you have to bring to the people what we actually do. Use things like Facebook to make them more aware of what the regional district does for us. It’s important to get the information out there to the people.”
Kershaw says he feels most comfortable taking his chair again on the TNRD board due to the fact that he served nine years previously in that same spot.
Asked if he was concerned that conflict of interest decision making might arise in the future due to the fact he is now a councilor representing the District of Barriere and a TNRD director serving the outlying areas of Barriere, Kershaw replied, “I will not make a regional district decision while I am sitting at the District of Barriere table.”
Asked if the scenerio came up while he was sitting at the regional district table as an Area ‘O’ representative, who would have to make a decision contrary to what Barriere would be voting for he replied, “It will be made totally different from the District of Barriere. I would make the decision that is best for the area as a whole. The scenerio doesn’t very often come up, but if a real conflict came up, I would declare it and leave the room. That is something I could do based on my nine years experience in government.”
Kershaw says tourism is high on his list of priorities. “Tourism is an easy fix. Now with the Agriplex, that will be our main attraction; and generally what’s good for one is good for the other.”
He also says the discussion of putting in a left turn lane on Highway 5 and Highway 24 in Little Fort was actually taking place seven years ago when he was on the TNRD.
“The first thing to do to get that fixed now is to have a study on the traffic flow and congestion at that corner,” said Kershaw, “That’s something I could put forward pretty quick.”
He also said a priority is to get good cell phone service to all the outlying areas. “The District of Barriere should go along with me on that because we have a number of dead spots for cell service here in Barriere as well.”
Asked what he saw for the future of the Barriere Southgate Industrial Park, Kershaw said, “The industrial park will increase our potential for more business and industry.”
Kershaw will now be finishing the two years remaining in the TNRD directors term which was left by Area ‘O’ Director Bonnie CruzelleMyram on her passing earlier this year. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Community Futures Thompson Country.
Other members of the Kershaw family who are currently serving the community and area are his son, Scott Kershaw, who is president of the Barriere and District Chamber of Commerce, and daughter-in-law Rhonda Kershaw, who is the area’s School District 73 Trustee.