A cyclist passes the corner of Main and Martin streets, always a hub for campaign signs, which is now fairly sparse. Today voters in Penticton elect a new mayor and city councillor in a byelection.
Garry Litke, who topped the polls for city council in 2011, along with challengers Vic Powell (who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2011) and Brian Henningson, hope to replace mayor Dan Ashton, who stepped down after being elected MLA in April.
Five are seeking the council spot vacated by Litke: Kevin Andrews, Patrick Buchanan, Lynn Kelsey, Andre Martin and Katie Robinson.
"Honestly, I haven't heard a lot. It's been pretty quiet," said Ashton, who promised during his campaign to pay the costs if a byelection was required.
"That's not unusual. I was first elected to council in a byelection (in 1998) and then ran in a general election and the byelection wasn't nearly as intense," he said.
"I think people in Penticton are always interested in what happens at City Hall."
Coun. John Vassilaki, who first ran unsuccessfully in a byelection before being elected for three straight terms, said there doesn't seem to be a major issue.
"Except for what The Penticton Herald brought up, first at a council meeting and then at the all-candidates forum, there doesn't seem to be an issue everybody's talking about," he said in reference to the suggestion senior management had requested a
10 per cent pay raise behind closed doors.
"I think the people who are interested are very interested. There are some good people running for counci, but I'm disappointed with one of the mayoral candidates who seem to be saying just what the people want to hear, rather than being truthful."
Vassilaki would not say which candidate he was referring to.
"I think there's a lot of election fatigue right now. There have been a lot of elections lately and people are maybe just tired, even a bit fed up" Vassilaki said.
Deputy Mayor Wes Hopkin said byelection numbers are traditionally lower and acknowledges this is a busy weekend in Penticton with three major events going on.
"I think there is a fairly strong interest," Hopkin said.
"Advanced poll numbers were strong and the voter turnout might be a down a bit, but I don't think you'll see 12 people coming out to vote. I definitely believe we chose the right time to have the new mayor and councillor in place for UBCM (Union of B.C. Municipalities convention)."
Hopkin believes the provincial byelection in West Kelowna, which didn't involve Penticton, added to voter fatigue.
Former mayor Mike Pearce, who lost his bid for re-election to city council in 2011, thinks voters consider the mayoral race to be a foregone conclusion, with Litke running against two opponents who have never held public office.
"I haven't seen a lot of interest, maybe it's because two-thirds of the term has already gone and most of the major issues will be addressed in the municipal election (in November 2014)," Pearce said.
"I don't see anything dynamic coming forward. It seems to be the same old, same old. Bottom line is when Litke gets elected, you're only adding one new person. It's not like a regular election where you elect an entire council of seven and then some real change can happen."
Voting takes place at the South Main Drop In Centre from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. with free shuttle service available on the hour from the bus stop at Lakeshore and Martin Street. The all-candidates forum of Aug. 27 can be viewed in its entirety at: pentictonherald.ca.