James Baker was born and raised in Lytton, BC and has a BA (Honours) degree in Political Science, Sociology and Anthropology and an MA degree in Archaeology from Simon Fraser University. He taught anthropology and archaeology at Langara Community College from 1970 to 1974 and at Okanagan College and Okanagan University College from 1974 until he retired in 2000. Upon retirement he was named Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at OUC. In 2007 UBCO named James Associate Professor Emeritus of Anthropology.
James and Anita and their four boys moved to the area in 1976. They have long been involved in community affairs – Anita working mostly with the United Church and the Friends of Fintry Society, the boys with school and sports, and James with local government and various societies and associations. Shortly after moving here, James was on the executive of the Winfield and District Minor Hockey Association. In 1981 he was elected to the Central Okanagan Regional District Board as the Director for this area. During his twelve years as Regional Director James worked with numerous volunteer groups on projects of community interest. Some of their achievements include the establishment of the Carr’s Landing Fire Department; creation of the Coral Beach recreation area; the building of the Horseshoe Pitch and Clubhouse; the acquisition of the Okanagan Centre School and the founding of the Lake Country Heritage and Cultural Society; the acquisition of the Oyama Post Office; worked with the Oceola Arts Council and the Memorial Hall Board to develop the community school concept. James is a member of the Friends of Fintry Heritage Society and the Oceola Fish and Game Club.
James was a strong supporter of incorporation and was an advocate of the ward system which assures neighbourhood representation on council. We would have a local council to work with volunteer groups on planning projects and would embrace change that would maintain the rural atmosphere and enhance our vital sense of community. James was elected to the first District of Lake Country Council and served four years as it tried to develop policies and procedures that would provide efficient, effective, economic and timely services to the community. He is familiar with the changes brought about by the Community Charter and Local Government Act which provide more flexibility for local government legislation than the old Municipal Act.
Mayor Baker sits as a Director on the Regional District of Central Okanagan Board and is the Lake Country representative on the Kelowna Airport Advisory Committee. He was appointed to the Okanagan Basin Water Board by the Regional District and the University of British Columbia Okanagan External Community Advisory Council by the Provincial Government.
Mayor Baker believes municipal government should focus on service. All constituents doing business with the municipality must be treated fairly, respectfully, efficiently and courteously. Local government must conduct business openly and honestly. Freedom of Information applications should not be required to discover what local government has done or is doing. The public should be involved in the broadest way possible in all aspects of all municipal policies, procedures and projects.
Mayor James Baker