Area A has a contender for a new director, with Thomas McDonald throwing his hat into the ring for the October elections.
A farmer by trade and with a background in business and hospitality, McDonald moved back to BC from Alberta with his wife five years ago. While they currently live in the Jaffray area (in Area B), they are building a home on their property in Cokato, where they want to raise their five children.
“We moved back five years ago to align our family with the rural community and the values that come along with it,” said McDonald in an interview with The Free Press.
The Regional District of East Kootenay’s (RDEK) Area A covers all of the Elk Valley outside of the three municipalities, with a population of 1,875 as of the 2021 census. The Area has been represented by outgoing director Mike Sosnowski since 2005.
A family man, with family values, McDonald owns two farms in the area – one in the South Country, and the one in Cokato, which is the old Anderson dairy farm. There, he grows hay and plans to have cattle in years to come.
“I love the area – my wife’s been here for four generations, we’ve lots of family history here,” he said.
McDonald said he was running to be Area A director because he wanted to give back.
“Our kids will grow up here and I think it’s important to get involved to help sustain the great atmosphere we live in and be involved with the community.”
He has been serving as president of the Cokato Association since 2021, and has ties up the valley through the farming community, and through kids programs in hockey and on the ski hill.
Asked what he would bring to the table and focus on as a director, McDonald pointed to his vocation, and the economy of the RDEK.
“I really love the aspect of the farming in the RDEK,” he said, saying that maintaining a balance between sustainable tourism and acceptable services for locals was key.
Farming is not an easy job, with long hours, but McDonald said he was up for being a director.
“The great part about farming is you’ve got your busy times and you’ve got your down times. I’m very energetic, coming from a pretty hectic schedule in my past life. I’m excited to put a lot of energy in.
“It’s important that our time and focus are invested in our future, and with five kids that’s very important to me. I think the time will be very well spent.”
The election for Area A director will be held on October 15.
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