After three years of serving the Town of Golden, Coun. Kujit Jaswal is seeking re-election on Nov. 19.
Jaswal, who also owns Jita’s Cafe, has called Golden home since she left India when she was 12 years old. After seeking higher education elsewhere, she returned home, and has been running the cafe for nearly 10 years now.
“It has allowed me to stay where I want to stay, and it has allowed me to be a part of the community. You see people every day, and hear about what’s going on around town. It’s very social,” she said.
Jaswal has always been interested in politics, although originally more on a federal or provincial level. When she decided to run for council three years ago, she discovered just how important municipal politics are.
“It is the closest to us as people, where you can really have an impact,” she said. “A few friends suggested that I run, so I thought I would give it a shot. I wanted to see what it is all about. It’s been a great learning experience,” she said.
One of the things she has come to understand about the political process, is how slow things move sometimes.
“Everything takes time. There’s lots of steps to go through, which is a good thing. You don’t want things to be passed quickly, and then consider the ramifications after. But it can be the most frustrating part, for those on the outside and the inside.”
Despite the often lengthy process, Jaswal is very proud to be part of the many things the council has accomplished over the past three years including the bike share program, the pesticide bylaw, giving the space for the Food Bank’s community garden, and the new pedestrian/bike trail, making it safer for the public to walk and bike.
Jaswal is also very proud of the work the housing committee has been doing.
“Seniors housing, and accessable housing has been a big part of that. What we’ve learned in the last few years, is that for seniors, there is low income and affordable housing available, but it is actually the seniors who have a good income, but have reached the age where they can no longer take care of their homes who are having trouble finding places,” said Jaswal.
“There’s no transition place to go, so many of them are leaving town, because they don’t want to be in assisted living, but they can no longer keep up their homes.”
Creating housing opportunities for this group is something Jaswal would like to work on over the next several years.
“That’s definitely been one of the topics that gets brought up quite a bit, and it’s something this population feels very strongly about.”
There are many other challenges facing the community, but Jaswal is very optimistic, and takes comfort in the fact that Golden is not alone. Communities all over the country are facing many of the same problems.
“One of the biggest challenges is definitely the economy. But they’re feeling that everywhere, it’s not just us.”
The current council has worked very well together as a team over the past term, and has accomplished quite a bit says Jaswal. And she hopes they can continue on the same path next term.