Columbia Shuswap Regional District Area A director Karen Cathcart.

Columbia Shuswap Regional District Area A director Karen Cathcart.

Cathcart and Oszust look to the future of the Golden region

Karen Cathcart and Mayor Ron Oszust reflect on what’s next for the region

Commitment to service is the primary focus of two local politicians.

Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) director Karen Cathcart has served three terms and is entering her 9th year of representing the citizens of Electoral Area A Rural Golden.

“I was in post secondary education for 33 years and it’s a really big part of who I am,” she says of her decision to enter politics. “I wanted to make a difference and educate the public as to what the regional can and cannot do.”

Cathcart says that as a board member she is part of an invaluable process that includes a team of directors who are supporting each other and their respective communities, learning from each other and building integral relationships.

“I see ourselves as stewards of our communities and the organization, and balancing that can be tough sometimes,” she says. “ AndI have the privilege to work with the Town of Golden in my capacity to help move projects forward in our community.”

Cathcart was delighted by the overwhelming vote in favour of a new aquatic centre in the recent referendum.

“it’s the people’s project, its the residents who voted on it and they set direction and want this project,” she says. “The project is worth $35 million, we are in the fundraising campaign strategy and we want to raise $17 million.”

Also excited about the new project and delighted to be representing the Town of Golden at the CSRD board is Mayor Ron Oszust. His political involvement goes back many years, as a school trustee, an electoral area director and a member of the Golden council.

“It’s community service, giving back,” he says, calling his 12 years as an electoral area director great fun. “I transitioned to council to see the difference and was asked by then-mayor Christine Benty to run for mayor. I jumped on the bandwagon and did it.”

Oszust says he likes to keep learning, exploring and finding different ways to give back to community. He is pleased that the board hired new CAO John MacLean.

“Ive known him for a lot of years. He’s a great addition to the CSRD and highly regarded by everyone I know, especially by our CAO John Wilsgard.”

Oszust says there are “good vibes” at the political and senior staff level as well as with Cathcart.

“We worked with her over the last term to initiate a number of shared services and we look to expand upon that,” he says. “Looking at our municipal council, it’s quite exciting as we have four new councillors.”

Following the Oct. 15 municipal election, Oszust says council members have been busy with orientation and the budget process, which always poses a challenge in balancing the financial demand on the property owners with the desire for increased service levels.

“I’ve always said the town has core services, it’s really pretty simple – water, sewer, roads,” he says. “It’s not exciting but critical, and we need to ensure that we have sustainable service delivery for these core services and the other services we provide.”

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