Tricia Thorpe has ousted incumbent Steven Rice as the new Thompson Nicola Regional District director for Blue Sky Country.
“It feels great, really great. We spent two months going door to door, from one corner of the area to the other. We literally hit every corner,” said Thorpe.
She laughed as she said she had spent the day answering emails and texts and taking her signs down.
“This is going to sound really bad but it was like taking a victory lap. You know, just go out and get those signs down. It was great.”
With all votes counted Thorpe received 228 to Rice’s 123. Her win ends three consecutive terms with Rice as director for Area I.
She said biggest fear during the election was that she might disappoint people and not make it when they had put their trust in her.
“I just want to say thank you to everybody. Everybody that got out and vote for people that put their trust in me. It was a community effort. I mean, it was a team effort. And that’s what people forget. Somebody puts their name forward, but it’s everybody else that carries you through.”
Thorpe believes one of the reasons for her win is there is a lot of discontent in the area.
“They’re not feeling like they’re being heard. Some people, they’ve never had anybody knock on their door or ask them what they wanted or what their concerns were.”
Thorpe lost her home in Lytton during the 2021 wildfire season and is currently rebuilding with the help of friends and family. Since losing her home she said she has been a vocal advocate for her community, especially those living in Electoral Area I.
“I kept basically screaming into the wind and trying to advocate but it is really hard from the outside. So this is my new tactic. ‘Okay, we’re going to try it from the inside.’”
Over the next few weeks, Thorpe plans to go through her black book where she wrote down peoples’ concerns and reach out to some of them to see what the next steps might be. She said the only way they were going to come through this is as a community.
”Natural disaster is the number one issue facing Area I, as the fires, floods, and slides have shown. Housing issues, accessibility to health care, mental health, and essential services are all impacted by these disasters,” Thorpe said. “I will advocate to all levels of government for a more proactive, rather than reactive, approach.”
Across the TNRD, 2,275 ballots were cast from an eligible voter pool of 13,931.
There is a lot of apathy in terms of voting she said while noting that there was actually an increase in Area I going from 300 votes cast in 2011 to 351 this election.
“Every time you see a number like that go up, it is a win for the system,” she said.