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Clearwater students weigh in on municipal election

High schoolers conduct analysis of candidate platforms
Clearwater Secondary School students took a look at some of the candidates in the upcoming municipal election and gave their thoughts on why they’d be good selections for town council. File photo


What is the connection between Donald Trump, the new BC curriculum, and the upcoming municipal election?

In an age where the lines between facts and fiction are becoming increasingly fuzzy, it becomes ever so important to look deeper when we make important choices.

Going deeper is what the BC new curriculum is about, so some students from the senior social studies classes took a deeper look at the candidates for the upcoming election and, after intense discussions and deliberation, they have chosen the candidates who they think would make the best team to move Clearwater forward.

After discussing the roles of mayor and councillor in class, the students decided that, unlike a provincial or federal election where we chose a party based on their platform, the municipal council works as one team, and the personal vision of each member can only be implemented if shared by the majority of councillors.

For this reason, the criteria for the experience and qualification of the candidates were deemed more important than their vision and their platform.

Finally, keep in mind that this is who the students chose from their perspective and that their priorities may be different than the average Clearwater citizen. This article is not meant to influence your vote, but to share with you what and how kids are learning in school these days.


The initial information about each candidate came from their official bios, newspaper articles, and social media posts. Using this data as a starting point, the students went on to design questions to complete the profile of each candidate.

Each candidate responded to the question either in face to face interviews, by phone, or by email. Once they had enough information, the students used it to evaluate and compare candidates.

The criteria were based on their experience with council or similar duties, their qualifications (mainly education and relevant expertise), their availability and commitment to the position, and finally their perception of what the job entails and the feasibility of their agenda (if they had one).

The choice was not easy as some students had personal connections with some of the candidates, but in the end the rational arguments in favour or against the candidates were the determining factor.

The choices and the rational behind them.


Merlin Blackwell

Merlin is a very approachable person who has tons of experience dealing with the public and has managed several business over the years. With seven years on the Clearwater council, he knows how the municipal government works, and he is aware of the ongoing issues.

Merlin is in the process of selling his business and will have plenty of time to focus on his job as a mayor if elected.


Barry Banford

Mr. Banford has spent the last two terms on the council. He is very knowledgeable about what the council needs to do and how to do it. He has a lot of education including a Bachelor’s degree in education and a diploma in natural resources management.

He has done a great variety of jobs in his life, which give him a good understanding of what is needed for economic development. He has also worked at Ministry of Forests for 32 years and is well connected to the industry, so he has in depth knowledge of the main economic resources of our community.

Barry’s priorities are economic development and fiscal responsibility, which means he is not going to waste the town’s money on things we don’t need or will not work.

Lynne Frizzle

Lynne Frizzle is running with the goal of speaking up for the seniors. Right now, Lynne is working as the seniors co-ordinator where she organizes and plans events.

Being part of Clearwater’s youth, we agree with the idea that someone represents the seniors needs. Lynne has worked for the Clearwater municipality before, so she has a very good understanding of how the council works.

She has also lived in Clearwater for most of her life and went through the economic ups and downs of the town, so she understands the importance of having a sustainable economy.

Lynne would like Dutch Lake to remain the town’s ‘jewel’ and not be sold off to developers.

Bill Haring

Bill’s vision includes some improvements for all Clearwater residents. Bill understands that we need to have businesses and people to pay taxes in Clearwater, so we like his idea of cutting the red tape to make it easier for people to start or to move a business here.

Bill has a bachelor’s degree in political science, and he has experience in emergency management and policy development. We think that Bill’s experience will be an asset for our community because we need to be ready in case of major forest fires or other potential disasters.

Even though Bill has moved and settled in Clearwater within the last three years, we believe he is committed to live here since he has had connections to Clearwater for more than 30 years and also has family living here.

Bill also mentioned that his job gives him a lot of flexibility, which will ensure he is available for his councillor’s duties.

Keith McNeill

As the local newspaper editor Mr, McNeill is very familiar with the issues Clearwater has to deal with. He has also lived here for nearly 30 years, and is well connected to the community. As he is recently retired, Keith has plenty of time to dedicate to council if he is elected.

As a journalist, Keith is familiar with the process and is well prepared for it. He also has a good understanding of politics in general and his involvement on several community groups and organizations proves that he can work well with others.

Shelly Sim

Shelly Sim has had seven years of experience on council and has been involved with several organizations around town. Not only would her knowledge of past years be of great importance in training the new councillors, but we also think that her experience will benefit our town.

She has clear goals for what she wants to achieve for our town. Her goals are to attract more businesses, to create a Social and Economic Advisory Committee, to promote the localization of government jobs, and to create a fuel management plan.

Although Mrs. Sim will not be here for the next few months, her reason for being in Kamloops is to take a course on Community Economic Development, which would certainly benefit our town, and it shows how committed she is to bettering Clearwater.

These are all plans that will have long term effects and therefore are pertinent to our generation who will benefit from the outcomes of these efforts in the years to come.

Lucy Taylor

Lucy Taylor says she can bring a fresh and new perspective into the council, she has more than 20 years experience in the financial sector, so we know she understands financial planning and fiscal responsibility.

She also understands the need to make decisions that will deliver long-term value to the community. Her main goal is to make sure that the money the town spends is well spent money and will pay off in the future.

Lucy moved to the area in 2015 with her family, and she has served as a Director on Raft River Elementary School PAC and the Wells Gray Riders Association. She also volunteered for Emergency Social Services during the 2017 wildfire evacuations.

If elected, her mandate will be to build a sustainable community by creating job opportunities, attracting more businesses, and making housing affordable.

Lucy works part time which gives her flexibility to be on council.