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Posted: October 10, 2018

Meet the Electoral Area F candidates

By Carol Gordon

The three candidates for the Regional District East Kootenay (RDEK) Electoral Area F Director (election and voting information) are Dawn Chabot Attorp, Susan Clovechok and Tom Symington.

Here is their opening statements made at the All-Candidates’ Meeting held at the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce in the Lion’s Hall, Wednesday, October 3, as well as comments taken from the candidate’s brochures.


Opening statement at All Candidates’ Meeting:

Dawn Chabot Attorp


A little bit about me – I was born and raised in the Columbia Valley. My Mom was a teacher and my Dad was the MLA here for over 20 years.

I left the valley after graduating high school to continue my education. I subsequently married, had a family and started a career in local government.

I was employed in local government for approximately 20 years, working my way from an entry-level position to senior management – finishing my career as the General Manager of Corporate Administration for the Regional District of Central Kootenay in 2013, at which time I moved back home to the valley.

I feel that my knowledge, experience and education in this field is a distinct advantage to me as a candidate. I know regional district services, I know public consultation and approval processes, water services, fire services, emergency programs… I have dealt with it all. I gained much insight into local government processes and I have some definite ideas about how we can work together better.

As well as my years in local government, I have also been a small business owner. So I fully appreciate that side of the equation.

Area F participates in approximately 20 regional district services with an annual budget of just over $2 million. It is important that the residents of Area F elect a representative who understands the services provided, budgeting and taxation and is willing to work with area residents to determine the level of service desired and how we will attain that. I know this stuff!

Some of the things I am passionate about and would like to work with you on….well, there are many but I don’t have time to get into all of them so will start by saying that I am a strong proponent of public engagement. Many of the services provided in the RDEK are optional – services requested by residents. I will respect the time and work invested by residents in developing guiding documents such as Official Community Plans and Solid Waste Management Plan.

I am independent, unfettered by outside influences, tenacious and driven. I am excited about the opportunity to work with you and ask for your support.

Campaign Brochure comments:

It is important that the residents of Area F elect a representative who understands the public approval processes required to establish services as well as the various taxation models. Equally important is to elect someone willing to work with area residents to determine what services are desired and how we will attain them. Having worked for a Regional District for eight years, I know this stuff!

As well as my years in local government, I have also been a small business owner. I understand the trials, rewards and responsibilities of being everything from the sales person to the bookkeeper to the janitor. I also know that, at times, business owners feel that their needs don’t necessarily mesh with government requirements. I would like to help bridge the divide between government regulations and business.

There is substantial development being undertaken in Area F. You need a representative who will work with you to ensure that future development is in accordance with plans in which residents have had substantial input, including: The Columbia Lake Management Strategy, the Lake Windermere Management Plan, the Regional Sustainability Strategy, the four Area F Official Community Plans – Fairmont/Columbia Lake, Toby Benches, Lake Windermere and Panorama.

It is important that you elect a Director who will respect the work invested in these guiding documents and always act in the best interest of valley residents.

I am knowledgeable, passionate, decisive and responsible. I commit to seeking and heeding public input and working hard on your behalf to ensure you receive the services you desire.


Opening statement at All Candidates’ Meeting:

Susan Clovechok


I have served the people of Area F for over eight years both as a board member of the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce and as the Executive Director. While on the board; I owned a small business, Smoking Water Café with my stepdaughter Stephanie and was building a consulting business.

I joined the board because I felt that with my background in work process improvement, customer service, sales and marketing, management, adult education, and leadership development I had some skills that I could contribute to our community by volunteering to be on the CVCC board.  And then due to some sad circumstances I was asked to step up temporarily to act as the Executive Director.

I had never worked for a chamber before but we needed someone to step in and take action to keep the organization operating so I put my hand-up. It was an opportunity to put almost 30 years of business experience to work and support my community so I rolled up my sleeves and got to work and I discovered that I loved the work – solving problems and advocating for success! And here we are eight years later and I am proud to say that I have drafted policies that have been adopted by the BC Chamber related to supporting small business sustainability, I contributed to the Community Priorities Plan a collaborative document which I would like to see up dated because it was a good document that resulted in the seven local governments and a variety of organizations in the Columbia Valley collaborating on numerous initiatives that were and are important to the residents of the Columbia Valley.

Area F is the largest jurisdiction in the valley; therefore your Area F director will have an incredibly important and strong voice in determining the future of the entire valley. We need a strong, healthy and resilient economy that is a reflection of the people that live here. I believe that I have the experience, the track record, the knowledge, the trusted relationships, the ability to learn and understanding of the communities to be the strong voice that the people of Area F need.

Campaign Brochure comments:

The Area F budget is one of the largest Electoral Area budgets in the province; therefore, it is important that your representative can manage budgets, and advocate for you. The needs of residents in our very distinct communities within Area F vary. But what they share is the need for the elected representative to work with the surrounding communities to ensure that services and land use management are addressed appropriately. Some of the priorities I’ve heard so far: the Lake Windermere Official Community Play, the Fairmont Creek Flood Control Project, solid Waste Management Plan, continuation of the Columbia Valley Community Economic Development Office, the successful transition of Parr Utilities, and the associated infrastructure upgrades.

In addition, here are a few other initiatives that I will work hard to complete: bring the issue of Public Transportation to the forefront of the RDEK Columbia Valley Directors priority list and find a solution to inadequate public transportation in the Columbia Valley, advocate for a Columbia Lake Management Plan and explore a carry capacity study for Lake Windermere.

All of these require a dedicated and committed Area F Director and you deserve to have someone who is knowledgeable, hardworking and committed to the residents of Area F. I will be that person.


Opening statement at All Candidates’ Meeting:

Tom Symington


I live in the southern half of Area F. I am running for office to encourage voter turnout, emphasize the importance of a non-partisan and independent candidate at the local level, highlight the need for increased transparency in regional government and promote sustainable development with an emphasis on business and lifestyle balance.

We know Area F is approximately 6,000 square kilometres in size. The population in the recent census was 3,185 and there are 2,261 electors on the voters list this time. The voter turnout for the last election was 30%. That’s one of the reasons I’m interested in being involved. I do not believe that democracy is well served through election by acclamation. I think it’s important to provide voters with a choice.

I have been a permanent resident of the valley since 2009. However, I have had a family connection to the valley since 1961 when my family bought a cabin in Windermere and I can remember the area when there was just a service station at the crossroads, Athalmer featured the Coronation Hotel and the Rocky Mountain Boys Camp was situated where Timber Ridge is now located. How things have changed, mostly for the better! I would like to see well-planned development continue with respect for the environment and our waters.

I am a lifelong learner, not afraid to accept new challenges and have lived and worked in a variety of cultural settings. My involvement with various boards and at a volunteer level has provided me with a wide exposure to the needs of the valley and its challenges.

Campaign Brochure comments:

I am running for office based on the following values and concerns: Valley business and lifestyle balance, affordable housing, water quality and waterways protection, FireSmart communities and neighbourhoods, highway safety and aesthetics, short-term vacation rentals and respecting our neighbourhoods and increased transparency and collaboration.

The two recent fire seasons have reinforced the need for our small communities to make themselves fire safe. This will involve more effort and coordination with other levels of government to ensure our neighbourhoods are protected.

Highway safety must be examined. We need to improve safety at major intersections on our highway as industrial, commercial, recreational and local traffic increases. Highway aesthetics also need upgrading.

Short-term visitor rentals have become an issue in some residential areas, particularly in those neighbourhoods with shared community facilities. Initiatives to resolve these problems in the interests of all property owners must be found.

I believe very strongly that there is a need to separate local government from provincial and federal politics. Local decisions should be based on reflections that relate to our particular circumstances. I am an independent, non-partisan candidate for this position and will work collaboratively with all upper Columbia Valley RDEK Directors for the benefit of all our residents.

The municipal and regional district election is October 20.

Photos by Carol Gordon


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