Courtenay City Council member David Frisch announced early last week that he is running for mayor.
Frisch is the second sitting councillor to enter the mayoral race, just 225 days away. Erik Eriksson launched his campaign for mayor several months ago. Then, late in the week, Bob Wells announced that he would also compete for the mayor’s chair.
That makes half of the existing Courtenay Council running for mayor. It means there are now three open seats on council and two of the mayoral candidates will no longer serve on Courtenay council.
Mayor Larry Jangula remains undecided about whether to seek re-election. In early January, Jangula told Decafnation it was “too early” to decide and that his decision will be based on his wife’s health, his own health and “an examination of who might be running.”
Jangula is out of town and could not be contacted after Frisch’s announcement.
Frisch told Decafnation that he’s running because he’s the best person to keep Courtenay growing in a healthy direction.
“I’m running for mayor because I have a vision to keep Courtenay’s natural beauty, access to recreation, and affordable living for generations to come,” he said. “My focus is on fostering an inclusive community and planning for growth in a responsible way, balancing economic needs with the need for a healthy and vibrant community.”
Frisch was the top vote-getter in the 2014 election and is serving his first term on council. He received 3,671 votes, hundreds more than his nearest competitor at 3,033.
“I’ve had the privilege to serve with the mayor and my fellow councillors for four years and have learned a lot,” he told Decafnation. “When I imagine how the valley will look in another 10, 20 or 30 years, I can’t think of anyone better to create an inclusive, people driven agenda.”
By seeking the mayor’s chair, Frisch, Wells and Eriksson will give up their council seats.
“The fact that my seat as a councillor will need to filled is only an invitation for another community minded leader to step up,” Frisch said. “The people of Courtenay will take care of choosing that person and I can work with whoever that may be.”
Rebecca Lennox, another first-term council members announced on Facebook late Thursday that she would also seek re-election.
“International women’s day is here so I thought I would tell you that I have decided to run in the 2018 election,” Lennox posted. “It has been my greatest honour to serve on council these last years and I will always be so grateful of the opportunity to do so. If I am lucky enough to be elected for a second term I will continue to do my best in the role of councilor.
“I hope to see a few more ladies round the table next time as one out of seven is not a great balance,” she wrote.
And newcomer Kiyoshi Kosky, who recently sought the provincial NDP nomination, said he is running for a council position.
In an email interview several weeks ago, when Frisch was considering a mayoral run, he told Decafnation:
“As mayor, I plan to embrace the opportunities we have and lead our community to grow in an environmentally responsible way while capitalizing on our opportunities for economic growth – particularly in internet technologies, destination tourism, and retirement living,” he said.
“This includes doing as much as possible to support affordable housing options for young adults, families and seniors, as well as doing the much needed long range transportation planning to keep us all moving.
“My role as mayor will allow me to lead the city to engage with the people of Courtenay and create a long range plan particularly for sustainable development and efficient transportation.”
Voters go to the polls on Oct. 20. Candidates for the 2018 municipal election must file during a 10-day period beginning Sec. 3.