Before submitting her nomination papers for another term on Castlegar city council, Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff considered running for mayor.
She’s wrapping up her third term and 11 year on council, making her one of the two longest serving councillors, along with Dan Rye, who is not seeking re-election.
But she decided that being mayor would cramp her outspoken style. So she’s running for a fourth term as councillor.
“I think that’s where my voice is best heard,” she says. “When you become mayor you have to become more diplomatic. I’m not always that. I like to get to the point and say it how it should be said.”
Heaton-Sherstobitoff says she doesn’t feel like she’s done all she wants to on council, and a number of initiatives started over the last decade are only now starting to bear fruit.
Housing is her No. 1 concern.
“Any type of housing is good housing. For a long time nothing was built, and now we’re starting to see things being built, but it’s just not enough. It takes a long time. We have to get a lot of things in the hopper.”
She says she stands by her decision to vote in favour of the sale of the Brandson Park site to a developer to make way for a mixed-use development, despite the criticism it drew. While a park will remain on the site, it will be smaller.
“It was the right thing for our community. I think you’re going to have a park and playground that’s better used with better equipment. I think it’s a win-win, but you’re not going to please everybody.”
She says improving the airport’s reliability is another key issue. The city is hoping to finally see some movement on that subject by early 2023.
She says as a returning voice, she could offer history and context for new councillors coming on board. Seven people are running for council this time, which means only one person will not be elected.
Heaton-Sherstobitoff says she expected more people who are unhappy with the city’s direction would have sought council seats. But she adds being a politician is not easy, especially in a day of steady online criticism.
“It really does take a toll on a person and their family,” she says.