AKBAL SINGH MUND, a prominent Vernon businessman, has become Vernon’s new mayor without ever having been a councillor.
He will succeed Rob Sawatzky who decided not to seek reelection.
According to a Vernon blog he was an owner of the local Wendy’s franchise and was president of the Greater Vernon 2012 B.C. Winter Games, co-founder of Wendy’s Dreamlift Day, president of the North Okanagan Sports Society and president of the Vernon Soccer Association. He was named Vernon’s Good Citizen of the Year in 2012.
Also, in Vernon, DALVIR KAUR NAHAL was elected councillor. She has been on the board for the Vernon Jubilee Hospital and is known for her fundraising.
South Asian Councillor SAV DHALIWAL was reelected for a fifth term.
Baljinder Kaur Narang and Harman Singh Pandher were reelected School Trustees.
Two South Asian councillors – MOE GILL and KELLY CHAHAL – were elected on the eight-member council – with another South Asian, Raji Buttar, coming ninth. Moe has served on Abbotsford Council since 1996.
Kelly Chahal is a community activist for the past 20 years, being involved in many social justice projects and is currently a member of Senate with the University of the Fraser Valley, an ex-officio member of the UFV Alumni Board, and Advisory Board member for the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies. Kelly has her Master’s in Criminal Justice and works for the Ministry of Justice. Having raised her son and daughter in Abbotsford, she is honored to serve her community.
ARJUN SINGH was reelected councillor. He is a trained facilitator and is currently co-chair of the Canadian Community for Dialogue and Deliberation. Arjun was born and raised in Kamloops. His parents, Dr Gur and Manju Singh, immigrated to Canada from India in the 1960s. He previously served on council from 2005-2008 and was reelected in 2011. He has an MA in Professional Communication from Royal Roads Unversity and a Certificate in Dialogue, Deliberation, and Public Engagement from Fielding Graduate University.
FORT ST. JAMES:
DAVE RAJ BIRDI was reelected councillor. He is the brother of well-known Dalit leader Jai Birdi. According to a local newspaper, “Birdi, along with his mother, brothers and sisters moved to the Fort to join his father, Lachman Birdi, who had already settled in Fort St. James and started working at the local sawmill in 1972.”
SUSHIL KUMAR THAPAR was reelected councillor for the fifth time. He graduated from G.N.D. University in Punjab. According to one media report, he arrived in Quesnel in 1991, and since 1996 has been a member of the United Steelworkers Union., and has been on city council since 2003. He has also worked in the forest industry for the last 20 years.
GURVINDER RANDHAWA was elected councillor. According to the provincial government’s website, Randhawa is an owner and operator of Skeena Taxi Ltd and a driving instructor with Skeena Driving School. Previously, Randhawa was an Auditor with Accountant General in Punjab, India. Active in his community, Randhawa is a treasurer with the Indo-Canadian Sikh Association and a past director with Tourism Prince Rupert. Randhawa holds a Bachelor of Science from Punjab University and has completed a clerk bookkeeper program at Northwest Community College.