Florio Vassilakakis hopes to return to Castlegar council

Florio Vassilakakis (Photo submitted)

A year and a half ago, Florio Vassilikakis resigned his council seat to run for mayor. He finished a close second.

Vassilikakis says he considered taking another stab at the job in next month’s general election before deciding to run for a council seat instead.

“Just looking at where my life is at, my kids are young and with my businesses and family businesses here and in Penticton, I felt it was appropriate I leave the position of mayor to someone who has the time to commit to the responsibilities that come with the job,” he says.

Vassilikakis was first elected to council in a 2013 by-election, re-elected in 2014 and 2018, and served until entering the mayoral by-election in 2021.

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While a councillor position may be less time-consuming than serving as mayor, he does not see it as less important.

“You can get as much done as you want. Just because you don’t have the title of mayor, I don’t think it means you’re contributing less to the ideas and strategic vision of the city. That’s why I decided that was probably a better place for me.”

Vassilikakis says after serving on council for eight years, it has been interesting to watch from the outside, which has given him new perspective on local government.

“I see now what some people say about how council might look to not be communicating or being transparent, even though I know they’re not doing it purposely or maliciously,” he says.

Vassilikakis says he now realizes some things he worried about while on council weren’t necessarily the things he should have worried about, and some things he felt passionate about were not necessarily shared by the community.

“Sometimes we put too much emphasis on things that don’t matter,” he says.

Of key decisions made in the last year and half while he has been away from the table, Vassilikakis says he would not criticize council foir any of them.

“I don’t think council erred in any extreme way,” he says. “I don’t fault them for the [Brandson Park] decision. It’s pretty hard to please everybody. The park issue is obviously one that stands out as the most controversial and probably the most difficult for council.”

Vassilikakis says he never had any political aspirations before initially being elected to council, but is now happy to offer his experience, as two incumbents are not seeking re-election.