A Salmo village councillor who was just elected last fall has resigned due to his ongoing Parkinson’s symptoms.
Todd Wallace was the top vote getter among Salmo council candidates during the B.C. General Election in October. But he only attended two council meetings after the election, and said he was forced to step down in December.
“I thought I could do it, but I decided that it was just too much stress and stress is not good with Parkinson’s.”
Wallace, 59, previously served one term on Salmo council from 1997 to 1999. In 2013 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, a neurological disease that impacts mobility. Parkinson’s patients suffer from symptoms including tremors, slowness and stiffness, impaired balance and muscle rigidity.
Health Canada said in April 2022 that 90,000 Canadians over the age of 40 live with Parkinson’s, which typically develops around the age of 60. Parkinson’s has no cure but symptoms can be alleviated with treatment.
Wallace said his condition hasn’t worsened since the election, but that the duties of the job were too difficult to manage. He said he is still well enough to stay active, and enjoys playing pickleball and yoga classes.
“I’m not disappointed. I ran, I don’t regret it. It was an opportunity to see if I could do it. Four years is a long commitment.”
A byelection to fill Wallace’s council seat will be held Feb. 25. The nomination period opened Jan. 10 and runs until Jan. 20.
Wallace is not the first B.C. politician forced to step down due to Parkinson’s. Former B.C. NDP leader and finance minister Carole James announced her diagnosis in March 2020 and did not run for re-election last fall.