Having watched her father serve as mayor for the last 14 years, Denise Dumas has a good idea of what she’s getting into.
She was born and raised in Cranbrook and has lived in the Creston valley for the last 13 years.
Her father, current Mayor Ron Toyota, met her mother in the valley while they were both in high school.
She says her family has deep roots in the valley.
“I have had the privilege to volunteer to sit on a couple of boards in town, Cresteramics, Trails of the Creston Valley Society, and the Five Pin Bowling Board.”
Dumas has been married to her husband, Jesse, for 25 years and has four children. For the past 17 years, she has been running a small business in the area.
She says she’s excited to bring her experience to council.
“Honestly, I am in love with this valley. I love living here and I’m excited to serve. Over the last 14 years, I volunteered and supported my father’s last four campaigns, which exposed me to some of the ins and outs of local government.”
Dumas says she was motivated to run about eight years ago after a moving visit to the Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre.
“I went to the Nikkei Internment Memorial. It tells the story of over 22,000 Japanese Canadians relocated to internment camps during World War II. I read the Emergency Act declaration that said all those of the Japanese race must surrender their vehicles, their boats, their radios, their firearms, their cameras, their homes, and businesses.”
That is where her grandparents, Tak and Betty Toyota, met.
“I was moved. I’ve never met my grandfather. He died a month before I was born. But I’ve heard so many amazing stories about him. When they were let out of that internment camp, they came and settled in the Creston Valley and they served this valley with grace and forgiveness. They put on teen dances, they started the Battle of the Bands. My grandfather served what is now Town Council for two terms.”
Dumas says this decision did not come lightly. She has seen the responsibility and struggles that come with working for the town.
“Once my father retired, I thought it would be such an honor to sit at a table with a diverse group of people from different demographics and backgrounds who will listen to one another and work together to better our community now and for future generations,” said Dumas.
“I’ve watched my father do it. I’m so proud of him and his council, and I want to be a part of that. I love the people of this valley, the gifts, and the talents.”
Dumas says the many nonprofits operating in the valley are vital to the local community.
“The number of people that volunteer and pour into the Creston Valley is outrageous. I love this small community and the abundance that it brings, I could go on forever.”
She adds all the small businesses and producers make Creston a perfect place to call home.
“The organic milk, cheese, eggs, produce. I love the farmers market handmade soap, the honey, the candles, the flour, and the locally roasted coffee.”
She says it would take far too much time to list off everything she loves about the valley.
” I love our coffee shops and I love the bakeries, the restaurants, and the shops. I love walking downtown and just checking out the different shops. The live music is incredible. Our musicians and artists in this town; we are so very blessed.
This valley is absolutely beautiful,” added Dumas.
“And I absolutely love where we live.”