Houston mayor, councillors declare election intentions

Mayor and six council seats come open in this fall’s election

The District of Houston council for the period 2018-2022 is, back row, left to right, Troy Reitsma, Jonathan Van Barneveld, Tim Anderson (who resigned in Jan. 2022), Tom Euverman. Front row, left to right, Tom Stringfellow, Mayor Shane Brienen, Lisa Makuk. (District of Houston photo)

The District of Houston council for the period 2018-2022 is, back row, left to right, Troy Reitsma, Jonathan Van Barneveld, Tim Anderson (who resigned in Jan. 2022), Tom Euverman. Front row, left to right, Tom Stringfellow, Mayor Shane Brienen, Lisa Makuk. (District of Houston photo)

The official nomination period for October’s municipal elections opened just yesterday but already current council members are announcing their intentions.

Mayor Shane Brienen has confirmed he’s in the running for a third term at the helm of the District of Houston.

Currently the most senior member on council, Brienen was acclaimed in 2018 and defeated then-incumbent mayor Bill Holmberg in 2014 following three terms as a councillor.

“We’re moving along as a community in transition but there’s a lot of unfinished business,” said Brienen.

He said the community has made strides in recovering from the 2014 closure of a major employer, the Houston Forest Products sawmill, pointing to the recent rebuild of 9th St. downtown as the first phase in a plan for a revitalization of the downtown core.

Brienen is also a co-chair of the North West BC Resource Benefits Alliance, a coalition of local governments in the region who are pressing the provincial government for a share of the taxes it receives from large industrial players.

“We’re committed to achieving an agreement,” he said of the alliance.

Jonathan Van Barneveld is the second most senior member of council having been first elected in 2011 and, like Brienen, is running again.

He topped the polls out of the 11 candidates for the six council seats in 2018.

“The community has really come a long way, there’s a lot of progress being made in the look and feel,” Van Barneveld said.

He said the community is recovering from the 2014 Houston Forest Products closure and the 2016 closure of the Huckleberry mine, events which then caused the community’s only large grocery store to close.

“The 9th St. [modernization project] has been the largest local investment since Steelhead Park in the 1990s,” Van Barneveld added.

Also running again is Troy Reitsma who was first elected in 2018, placing second on the list of 11 candidates seeking office in that election.

“There’s still a lot of work to do and I’ve enjoyed my time on council,” said Reitsma.

He described the 9th St. project has having a significant major positive impact on the community.

“And I’m looking forward to the next phases, 10th St. and then 11th,” said Reitsma.

Not running again is Lisa Makuk, a first time councillor. She cited personal reasons behind her decision.

“Regretfully, I am not running,” she said. “I have enjoyed the every-day council activities.”

Makuk said she had wanted to see the full scope of downtown modernization plans through to the end.

The two remaining council incumbents, Tom Stringfellow and Tom Euverman, could not be contacted by press time.

Tim Anderson, who was the sixth council member, moved away from the community late last year. He resigned his seat effective Jan. 2 of this year, a move that meant the District did not need to hold a by-election.

General voting day is Oct. 15 and prospective candidates have until 4 p.m. Sept. 9 to file their nomination papers.