Merrittonians will now has two names listed on their ballot as options for the position of mayor this fall, with Councillor Tony Luck declaring he will run for the top spot at city hall during the October 15 elections.
Luck will challenge incumbent Mayor Linda Brown and any other candidates that may put their name on the ballot in the roughly three and a half months leading up to the election. Brown announced her intention to run for re-election 24 hours prior.
“After lots of contemplation, talking to quite a few people in town, and having phone calls and people asking me, I have made the tough decision to seek the seat of Mayor for the City of Merritt this election in October,” said Luck.
In his conversations with locals, his family, and other community stakeholders, Luck says his unique and experienced perspective in multiple government positions enables him to better understand the needs of the community and its members. The first-term Merritt city councillor, who previously served as a city councillor in Mission, also works as a realtor and with multiple non-profit organizations in town. He says the issue of communication, or the lack thereof, has been consistently raised in his conversations.
“I think there is a lot of angst in the community. One of the key pieces that we miss is the communication piece,” added Luck.
“I’m going to come to the table with a much different leadership style, really working on the team process and getting more people involved.”
Luck says that collaboration and cooperation are key when it comes to moving forward as a whole, both from the devastating year of fires and flooding behind us, and for growing the small community. Having experience with regional districts such as the Fraser Valley Regional District, as well as municipalities and higher levels of government, Luck says he is the man for the job and is prepared to work hard.
“We have a lot of work to do in the next couple of years, working with the senior levels of government, and I think it’s going to be really important to have all of council roll up their sleeves and dig in hard. Whoever is running, I hope you’re ready to work hard in the coming four years.”
Since the flooding and fires of 2021, Luck says the City and its staff have been hard at work on recovery efforts, and says he would oversee efforts with increasing resiliency in the community if elected Mayor. He notes that while there have been issues, he feels some criticism directed at City staff and elected officials has been unfair and unfortunate.
Luck says he will also focus on making life more affordable for Merrittonians, taking on the exponentially increased issues of inflation and its effects on the cost of living in Merritt. Luck believes that this high cost hinders Merritt’s ‘small town appeal.’
“One of the challenges we have moving forward and trying to keep the small town appeal is that today it’s very expensive. If we have a kilometer of road to fix in Merritt, that cost is pretty much the same as in the Lower Mainland, if not more in Merritt. In Merritt, 7000 people pay for that, compared to 2,000,000 in the Lower Mainland.”
Moving forward, Luck will continue to engage his constituents and fulfill his duties as a councillor. The official campaign period for the 2022 elections doesn’t officially start until September, and Luck says there is lots of work still to be done in the meantime.
“Despite some of the issues around the council table, this council has gotten a lot of things done. If I look back over my record in the past four years, I’ve brought a lot of the initiatives and things like that to the table. I’ll continue to do that, and I have the experience to be able to do that.”
The 2022 civic election is scheduled to take place on October 15, 2022. For more information, please call the City of Merritt at 250-378-4224, or visit www.merritt.ca/election22.