Of the nine people running for mayor and council in Castlegar, there’s only one name that has not appeared on the ballot before.
Darcy Bell works for Kalesnikoff Lumber as a purchaser and has been “in and out of politics” at different levels, but has never stood as a candidate before.
“I have a fascination for the political process” he says. “I love that, so I’ve been watching from the outside looking in at our city council.
“My wife would tell you I always have lots of opinions, so it would be nice to have a voice at the table and be part of that decision-making process to make our city better.”
Bell worked on a couple of provincial campaigns in Alberta, where his family lived until they moved to Castlegar about 10 years ago for a change of pace and to be closer to his in-laws, who live in Slocan.
His daughters are now in their 20s. One lives on the coast with her husband while the other is at home and attending Selkirk College. Bell says now that they are adults, it seemed like a good time for him to enter local politics.
He says housing is a key issue.
“It’s the one thing on everybody’s mind. I know our outgoing council has tried to do a lot on that, but I think there’s lots more to do and different avenues to explore.”
In addition to working full-time, Bell has run a business on the side, giving him a “soft spot” for small business.
“Economic development and helping those businesses succeed is important to me,” he says.
In preparation for his council bid, Bell has watched a few meetings, and spoken with outgoing mayor Kirk Duff and councillors including Maria McFaddin, whom he already knew.
He’s also on the board of the Woodland Park housing co-op, where he lives.
As a councillor, he says he would strive to ensure community voices are heard. “It’s important to me that everybody feels they’re treated with dignity and respect.”