Cathy Thicke, left, and Jacky Challenger, right, were both elected to Tofino’s council on March 6. (Photos submitted)

Cathy Thicke, left, and Jacky Challenger, right, were both elected to Tofino’s council on March 6. (Photos submitted)

Tackling tourism impacts a top priority for Tofino’s two new councillors

Cathy Thicke and Jacky Challenger look to address tourism concerns.

Tourism concerns sit atop the minds of Tofino’s two new municipal councillors.

Cathy Thicke and Jacky Challenger both saw their campaigns culminate in success on March 6 as they were elected to council alongside Tofino’s new mayor Dan Law.

“Tourism, I think, is on everyone’s mind right now as we’ve seen the first really beautiful days of spring coming in,” Challenger told the Westerly News, adding she is eager to get working towards a “more manageable” summer season. “That’s where I’ll be focused at the beginning.”

Thicke told the Westerly that tourism was a constant topic during the election campaign.

“People are feeling frustrated about the lack of input into this conversation at a community level. I had a feeling from those conversations that people were feeling overrun and I feel that the financial burden of tourism is having a toll on the community,” she said. “The tourism issue is one thing I feel very passionate and committed to seeing through.”

READ MORE: Tofino beachgoers ‘horrified’ by watercrafts in surf zone

Both Challenger and Thicke were at the Tofino Community Hall to watch the March 6 vote count as seven candidates vied for two councillor seats and three candidates ran for mayor.

“It was exciting to be present for the vote count with the other candidates. Everyone had worked so hard during the campaign, so it felt like a culmination of what we had all gone through,” Challenger said. “When I saw the results I felt contented for sure and also really privileged to hold the trust of Tofino’s residents to be a voice at the council table and then I thought, ‘OK, when do we start? There’s lots of work to do.’”

Thicke said she was “in shock” when the results came in.

“When 10 people are running, things are very congenial but they’re also slightly competitive at the same time. Until the results are in, you really do not know what the will of the people is. So, it’s nerve-wracking and it’s exciting and it’s exhilarating at the same time,” she said. “It was a great feeling to hear the outcome…A huge congratulations to the others that ran. I feel that putting yourself out there is a real test of your courage and your belief in this town.”

Challenger attributed her success to clearly expressing her guiding principles of community sustainability and diversity to voters.

“A lot of people recognized me as someone who is an active and thoughtful community member and who has been for a long time that also has relevant experience. Throughout the campaign, I did receive a lot of messages of support and that felt reassuring,” she said. “Thank you Tofino for putting your trust in me. I hold that with a lot of respect.”

Thicke ran on a platform pillared by community, commitment and collaboration.

“Decisions will be made through the lens of community, what’s important to the community and their values and decisions made at the council table will be with the understanding of commitment and collaboration. I think this resonated very strongly with people,” she said. “I wasn’t wishy washy in those things.”

This is Thicke’s second tenure on council as she served two terms before deciding not to run for re-election in 2018 and falling short to Dan Law in a 2019 byelection bid.

READ MORE: Outgoing councillors plan to remain active in Tofino

“I felt like I needed a break and I did have that much needed break and I felt this time I had a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of drive to continue with the work that had begun,” she said. “Having a break was really important for me, having three grandkids in that time and then just looking at things with fresh eyes. Where have we been? What have we done? What do we still need to do? It’s pretty neat actually to feel like I have that renewed energy coming back. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Challenger will be taking her first seat at the council table and said she’s committed to being prepared.

“I’ll definitely be spending the next couple of weeks studying and learning the ropes. I have had many other current and past councillors and mayors reach out to offer their support and advice, so I’ll be taking them up on that and I feel very supported,” she said.

Both said the town’s new council has a wide-range of ages and experiences.

“I think it’s a fantastic team,” Thicke said. “It’s a great meeting of the minds in a sense. They’re seven very different people but it represents a fairly diverse representation of the community in terms of the age groups and the experience that people bring. I think it’s going to be a very well rounded council.”

Challenger agreed.

“I think that although there’s always room for more diversity, it does represent a wide range of experiences, length of time being in Tofino and different perspectives. So, it feels like a good balance, though it could always be better,” she said.



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ MORE: Tofino considers new beach fire restrictions, including portable fire pit mandate

READ MORE: Tofino mayor condemns vandalism against tourists, says bylaw staff also being targeted

READ MORE: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation says more resources needed to keep Tribal Parks open

Municipal GovernmentTofino,Tourism

Just Posted

NIC’s new president Lisa Domae assumed the role of president on April 12. Domae has worked at NIC since 2000, most recently as the executive vice president, academic and chief operating officer. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
New North Island College president launches draft strategic plan

Lisa Domae assumed the role of president on April 12, 2021

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of homicide in Port Alberni

Terrance Mack being remembered as kind, gentle man

A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)
Litter woes continue at ‘Locks of Love’ fence near Tofino-Ucluelet

Popular Highway 4 spot continues to be consumed by disrespect

Black Press Media file photo
POLL: Did you complete your 2021 census form on time?

Have you completed your 2021 census form yet? READ MORE: 2021 census… Continue reading

THC boardmember Melody McLorie and municipal councillor Coun. Duncan McMaster celebrated the start of construction on a 14-unit affordable housing development at 700 Sharp Road in February, 2021. (Westerly file photo)
Tofino Housing Corporation asks for portion of town’s MRDT funds

Tofino’s hotels and resorts collect a 3 per cent Municipal and Regional District Tax from visitors

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Derek Descoteau with his trusty dog Harvey. (Photo submitted)
Friends provide continuing comfort for family in wake of unresolved senseless B.C. murder

Case remains before the courts five years after Derek Descoteau’s abrupt stabbing death in Chemainus

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

The new wing at the Victoria International Airport opened up on Thursday (File contributed/YYJ)
Pandemic takes ‘hundreds of millions’ out of Victoria Airport, Vancouver Island economy

Airport authority head says passenger volumes down as much as 98 per cent

The top photo is of a real carbine rifle, while the bottom photo is the airsoft rifle seized from a Kelowna man on May 15. (Contributed)
RCMP issue warning: ‘Imitation firearms need to be dealt with responsibly’

A man brandishing his airsoft rifle in public had his weapon seized by Mounties on Saturday

Reigning women’s World Champion Kaetlyn Osmond, who also took bronze at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, will debut two brand new programs for the 2021 Stars On Ice tour, in Victoria May 15. (File photo)
Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko hit the ice when Stars On Ice returns to Vancouver Island

The star-studded lineup is makes a return after pandemic hiatus

Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Black Press Media files)
Canada marks 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began

6 in every 10,000 Canadians died of COVID-19 since March 9, 2020

Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen, with the 100 Mile House RCMP. (Melissa Smalley - 100 Mile Free Press)
14-year-old boy killed in serious ATV crash near 100 Mile House

Youth was travelling with a group of peers when the incident occurred last Friday

Relief is coming for B.C.’s struggling tourism sector. (NEWS file photo)
B.C. officials set to announce more support for tourism sector hit hard by pandemic

Non-essential travel is restricted between three regional zones in B.C. until at least May 24

Most Read