When election time rolls around in November, regional district Area C director Terry Schafer won’t be seeking re-election.
That’s what he told the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS) board on Thursday.
“I have mixed emotions about my decision to not run again,” Schafer told the Chronicle. “It’s been a pleasure to try to help the residents of Area C, but this job comes at a price.”
Part of that price has been his health, Schafer said.
“Stress is likely the reason my blood pressure is entirely through the roof and this is the main reason I won’t be running. I’m stepping aside to allow someone with fresh drive and passion to take the reins.”
The majority of his stress has come from things “beyond (his) control,” such as the large property tax increases that Willowbrook residents are currently facing.
For Schafer, it’s been a “nightmare with no remedy.”
However, he thinks Willowbrook residents may have better luck fighting the increase than he has had.
“It’s a truism that a rural director really has no power,” Schafer said. “The real power rests with the residents. I’ve been amazed at the results garnered by the likes of local heroes like Gordon Kirby and Jim Stanley who knew how to get their neighbours together and use the power of petition to effect change.”
Out of the 16 years Schafer has spent as a municipal or regional elected official, he said the last four have been the most stressful. He’s hoping his successor will have better luck.
“I guess it’s just been my bad luck that each year of my last four years has had a disaster. Whether rock fall, mudslide, flooding or wildfire, each year was worse than the one previous. That may reflect the increasing unpredictability of climate change but, on the other hand, perhaps 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 will be mild and manageable. I sincerely hope so.”
For now, Schafer will serve the rest of his term and “continue to try through any means possible to ameliorate.”
After that, he plans to keep working, spend time with his grandkids and make guitars.
“I’ve spent 16 years as either a municipal or regional elected official and that’s enough for anyone.”