TNRD needs own version of Vote 50

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District needs its own version of Vote 50, says Area P candidate Mel Rothenburger.

Rothenburger said the small turnout in last week’s first advance poll for election of an Area P director concerns him. Thirty-two people cast ballots, compared to 36 in advance voting in 2008, the last time there was an election in Area P.

“I hope more people will vote this coming Wednesday in the second go-round of advance voting at the TNRD office but it seems unlikely the number will go up much,” Rothenburger said.

“People tell me they don’t feel connected to what the TNRD does, and that’s a problem. The Area P director has to let people know who he is and what he and the TNRD are doing, not just at election time but year round.”

He said hiring a TNRD communications officer has helped a lot, but he would push for a more focused communications plan, a customer-focused approach to service, and participatory budgeting, and would take a kitchen-table approach to talking with Area P residents.

Those things are fundamental to driving taxpayer engagement, and would set the scene for a TNRD version of Vote 50 that would boost turnout in future elections, he said.

The Pinantan East Paul Lake Community Association held a candidates’ forum last week, and Vote 50 teamed up with the Heffley Creek Community Hall for a candidates’ mixer that included Area P.

“Those are the types of things we need a lot more of in future,” Rothenburger said.

He said Vote 50 appears willing to work with the TNRD on a voter-turnout plan for future elections.

Rothenburger calls for Kinder Morgan to help pay for water upgrade

Kinder Morgan should ante up for a major contribution toward the cost of a $1.3 million upgrade to the TNRD’s Black Pines water system, says Area P candidate Mel Rothenburger.

The Black Pines project, which results from earlier failures of the community’s water system, is expected to go to a petition early next year for a decision by residents.

Rothenburger said Kinder Morgan is proposing a dramatic change to its route through the Whispering Pines and Black Pines communities that could have a major impact on many properties and likely conflict with construction of the new water intake and treatment system.

The pipeline expansion project is in front of the National Energy Board awaiting approval.

“Kinder Morgan needs to come to a community meeting to explain its proposed changes and to discuss the potential for the company assisting in the water project,” Rothenburger said.

“It needs to commit to helping lower the cost of the water project to residents, who are facing a $10,000-plus bill for each home on the system even if federal-provincial infrastructure money is available.”

He noted a memorandum of understanding between Kinder Morgan and the District of Barriere was announced Thursday in which the company would provide $290,000 in benefits to the municipality, which supports the expansion.

“Whether in-kind or direct funding, Kinder Morgan could bring down the cost to Black Pines residents by thousands of dollars, reducing their financial hardship.”

Rothenburger said he discussed the matter with Kinder Morgan on Thursday and the company appears receptive both to a community meeting and to exploring the potential for in-kind participation in the Black Pines water project.

He said if he’s elected in the Nov. 15 election, he’ll push for a community meeting —including both Black Pines and Whispering Pines residents — with Kinder Morgan hosted by the TNRD within the next few weeks, and will lobby for the company’s commitment to bringing down the cost of the water system to residents if the water project is approved and if the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion goes ahead.

Rothenburger is a Black Pines resident whose home is outside the boundaries of the water system.

Mailing error could affect turnout

An error in distribution of City of Kamloops voter information cards could negatively affect the turnout in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District election, says a candidate.

TNRD Area P candidate Mel Rothenburger says Sun Rivers residents were mistakenly included on a mailing list for City voter cards. When the error was discovered at City Hall, a letter was sent to the residents telling them they aren’t eligible to vote for City council.

“The problem is that Sun Rivers voters might now think they can’t vote anywhere. In fact, eligible electors in Sun Rivers can vote in the TNRD election for Electoral Area P,” Rothenburger said.

A TNRD polling station will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on general voting day Nov. 15 at the Sagewood Community Centre at 222 Sagewood Drive in Sun Rivers.

The Sun Rivers Owner Association also sent a notice to residents Tuesday about the City’s mailing error.

“Everyone’s doing their best to set the record straight but the situation certainly confuses things,” Rothenburger said.

“Residents of Sun Rivers need to feel assured they haven’t been disenfranchised in this election. A good turnout is essential to the democratic process.”

Rothenburger pledges kitchen-table approach

Mel Rothenburger.

Mel Rothenburger.

Monday, Oct. 6, 2014

Area P (Rivers and The Peaks) candidate Mel Rothenburger said today he’ll bring a kitchen-table approach to the job if he’s elected to the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board of directors in the November civic election.

“I’m finding that many residents don’t feel connected to what the regional district does,” said Rothenburger.

“The TNRD does a lot of important work, and staff does a good job of meeting with residents on broad community issues, but consultation needs to be ongoing and that’s where the director comes in. If I’m elected, I’ll be visible and accessible. Pro-active, not reactive.”

Rothenburger said TNRD staff have a vast geographic area to take care of. As director, he would be a contact point for the people of Area P.

“I’ll meet with people in their communities and at their kitchen tables on an ongoing basis to make sure they get the information they need.

“That’s a major part of what a director should do,” said Rothenburger, who intends to set up a website as an additional way to communicate with residents if he’s elected.

Rothenburger launches website for campaign

Monday, Sept. 15, 2014

Mel Rothenburger today launched a website for his campaign for the Electoral Area P seat on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.

The site, Mel Rothenburger for TNRD, is at areappost.wordpress.com.

Rothenburger said the site will be updated regularly to inform residents of Area P on issues involving the election, set for Saturday, Nov. 15.

“As the campaign progresses, I’ll provide my views on issues within the Electoral Area and Region, as well as helpful information about the election process,” said Rothenburger. He will also Tweet at @mel4tnrd.

Rothenburger runs for Area P (Rivers and the Peaks) seat on TNRD Board of Directors

Mel6Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014

Mel Rothenburger

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Re: Thompson-Nicola Regional District election,

Electoral Area P (Rivers and the Peaks)

I’ve decided to seek election on Saturday, November 15 to the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board of directors representing Electoral Area P (Rivers and the Peaks).

My previous six years as a Director on the TNRD board have given me an appreciation for the important work the TNRD does.

The regional district provides a wide range of services including water, fire protection, building inspection, solid waste management, libraries — more than 100 services in all.

I want to put my experience and record of leadership in regional and civic government to work for the area in which my family and I reside, and for the TNRD as a whole.

There’s a wonderful diversity of communities in Area P. Residents around the area and region tell me they understand the need for government, but they don’t want too much government. They accept taxation as a necessity, but they want tight financial control.

I’m committed to consultation with residents on issues important to each community, co-operation with other electoral areas and municipalities, accessing a fair share of senior-government funding for local projects, and getting the best possible value for our tax dollars.

Regional government is close to people — it deals with everyday, important issues. I’m excited about the prospect of being a voice for the people of Area P (Rivers and the Peaks) at the TNRD board table.

Some of previous experience:

  • TNRD, Director, 6 years
  • North Thompson Wildfire Recovery Task Force
  • Thompson-Nicola Film Commission, Chair
  • SD73 Board of Trustees, Chair and Finance Chair
  • City of Kamloops, Mayor, 6 years
  • Kamloops Chamber of Commerce, Director
  • Championed Tournament Capital project, Kamloops Centre for Water Quality, McDonald Park Community Project