Health care and clean drinking water; it’s what Sue McKortoff is prepared to work on extensively if re-elected as mayor of Osoyoos.
The two-term South Okanagan mayor is seeking re-election on Oct. 15, after a pair of blowout victories in which she received 78 per cent of the vote in 2014, and more than 85 per cent in 2018.
Admittedly, though, she’s not expecting the same lopsided outcome in 2022.
“I have a feeling that this time, it’s not going to be something close to 90 per cent,” McKortoff told Black Press. “There are certainly going to be people that think the other candidate is a better fit…but I just don’t know.”
The incumbent mayor has one challenger in the election — Langley businessman Dustin Sikora, who reportedly donated thousands of dollars to the Freedom Convoy earlier this year, according to Canada’s National Observer and Toronto Star.
Sikora moved to Osoyoos less than two years ago.
The former resident of Langley has not yet responded for comment on his bid for mayor.
McKortoff, meanwhile, cites hiring full-time firefighters, moving forward with proposed downtown revitalization and preserving the local high school after it was in danger of closing as among the successes during her time as mayor.
“We’re feeling a lot safer in town, we’ve put in new trails, we’re putting a new washroom at Legion Beach and we’ve done a fair bit with the fire department,” the mayor listed.
Advisories for dark, brown water coming out of Osoyoos taps have been issued this year from both the town and Interior Health. McKortoff, who currently sits on the Okanagan Basin Water Board, says her public works team is “working daily, around the clock,” to fix the problems associated with dirty laundry and unclean drinking water.
“It’s a huge concern in our community,” Osoyoos’ mayor said. “I’ve had people write to me that they’ve had their clothing stained. Maganese happens to be one of the elements that is in our wells and that is our problem, but believe me, we are busy flushing this out of our system.”
The election talking point of doctor shortages, meanwhile, isn’t as easy to break down as it sounds. McKortoff says she herself, doesn’t even have a family doctor.
But continuing to team up with Oliver mayor Martin Johansen in communicating local problems with the province remains as important as ever, she added.
“It’s a very tricky issue, believe me,” McKortoff said. “I have been very involved with health care for many, many years. It is a very confusing issue, you can not just say you’re going to hire more doctors.”
Johansen was officially acclaimed in the Oliver role last week, as the two South Okanagan mayors met with Minister of Health Adrian Dix at the UBCM in Whistler.
Along with the upcoming mayoral vote, Osoyoos will elect four town councillors and two water councillors in October.
A total of six people are vying to sit on one of the four council chairs:
• Wes Greve
• Sy Murseli
• Jim King (incumbent)
• Zachary Poturica
• Myers Bennett (incumbent)
• Johnny Cheong