Campbell River mayor takes his mortality to heart

The mayor says he came face to face with his “mortality” in 2007 when a virus attacked his heart

Mayor Walter Jakeway, the changed man, wants city council to allocate $10,000 a month to the local food bank from October through January.

That’s what happens when a matter of fact technocrat suffers a near fatal heart infection, goes under the surgeon’s knife on the operating table and emerges a changed man.

Jakeway, who invited a homeless First Nations man to live in his basement for four months this year, also wants the city to build a homeless shelter and a new SPCA shelter.

The mayor says he came face to face with his “mortality” in 2007 when a virus attacked his heart. “I was two months from dead. I had a six and a half hour heart operation. My life changed totally,” Jakeway says.

“My values changed. Now I have a soft spot for homeless people and animals.

“When I became mayor I put myself on the homeless coalition. I’m a big supporter of the Salvation Army and the Radiant Life Church that feed people every day.

“When you are lying there (on the operating table) you ask yourself what is really important in this life. Is money truly the most important thing in this world?

“No, it is not.

“I have been well blessed. It’s my responsibility to help people who aren’t so well blessed.”

Jakeway says the world of black and white realities now has a lot of grey in it. “People in this building think Walter only knows black and white. Walter knows grey. You’ve got to have the milk of human kindness.”

The mayor believes the city’s annual casino revenues from the provincial gaming branch, about $700,000, should be earmarked for social policy (“people”) initiatives such as the building of a homeless shelter and a new SPCA facility.

Are these lofty social goals achievable? “If city council will agree with me,” the mayor says.