Peter Waterman is seeking a seat on municipal council in next month’s civic election.
Waterman, who served as a councillor from 2005 to 2008 and ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2008, said council must focus on improving economic conditions in Summerland.
“You see the downtown with empty storefronts. It doesn’t look like a happy place,” he said.
An initiative from the Summerland Credit Union to set up a venture capital fund is one way to help the local economy, he said, adding that business activity is needed.
Waterman’s background is in agriculture as an orchardist and agrologist. He said his orchard background has given him an understanding of business. For 16 years, he operated an orchard worth $850,000 and hired 15 to 25 people every year.
“It was a small to medium business. It was a tough business,” he said. “I know what it’s like to run a business.”
He said the members of the next council will have to work together and put aside their differences to create a strong community.
“Each of us is going to have to put aside the political differences we may have. “We’ve got to look at our downtown and how we can revitalize our economy.”
Events such as the Granfondo cycling event, the fall mountain bike race and the Ride the Giant longboarding competition can promote the community. For longboarding, the course on Giant’s Head Mountain is one of the best locations in western Canada and the western United States, he noted.
He said the next council and the community should look ahead rather than revisiting the past.
“The mayor and council should be passionate ambassadors for the town,” he said.