The only member of city council who has never signed an oath of office to represent the people of Campbell River as a city councilor, Kermit Dahl, signs his document under the watchful eye of Judge Barbara Flewelling on Monday night on the stage of the Tidemark Theatre. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

New Campbell River City Council officially gets to work

Mayor thanks outgoing councilors, gives highlights of last term, in inaugural address

Before Campbell River’s new council could get to work after being elected on Oct. 20, they had to be sworn in by a judge after giving their oath of office, so they did that Monday night at the Tidemark Theatre.

Councilors Michele Babchuk, Charlie Cornfield, Kermit Dahl, Colleen Evans, Ron Kerr and Mayor Andy Adams were all in attendance to be sworn into office by Judge Barbara Flewelling Monday night at the inaugural meeting of the new council. Claire Moglove is out of town right now and will be sworn in next week when she returns.

The meeting also gave Adams a platform to give his inaugural address, where he outlined his views on the city and how he hopes council moves forward for the next four years.

He began by touting the last council’s accomplishments, saying he is extremely proud of what they got done last term.

“Four years ago during my inaugural address I laid out a number of initiatives and goals,” Adams says. “The first was to be positive, professional and credible, and with the support of council and city staff, we have changed the culture and environment at City Hall, holding true to those principles.”

He went on to talk about the city’s improved recruitment of top-notch staff like Deborah Sargent, who came on as city manager and Ron Bowles as general manager in the first year of the last term and later Rose Klukas as the city’s new economic development officer after Rivercorp was dissolved and brought back under the umbrella of the city, which was also performed during the last term. The city then reviewed its tourism strategy and brought Destination Think! on board “to guide the future of tourism in our community. With the addition of Kirsten Soder and her team, we are now working with our regional neighbours of Sayward, Gold River and Tahsis and raising the profile of what we all know is a fabulous place to live, work and play.”

He thanked Coun. Cornfield for successfully leading the Forestry Task Force, “which developed a number of recommendations that have now been adopted by council and referred to our economic development department to implement where opportunities present themselves, as Campbell River is the centre for North Island coastal forest industry.”

He also touted the city’s moves on infrastructure improvement and development, citing the decision being made on a vision for the 3.5-acre waterfront site. While Adams admits the project “will take federal, provincial and private funding to become a reality, it’s great to see the first phase started on the oceanfront walkway connecting the Discovery Harbour Shopping Centre with downtown.”

Adams also cited the completion of the Robron turf field – with the fieldhouse soon to come – the Big Rock Boat Ramp upgrade, the sewer upgrade along Highway 19A, the Frank James Park master plan, the Jubilee Heights development being started after 12 years of negotiations with Timberwest, “which also resulted in sewer upgrades of the Larwood, Harrowgate and Westgate area,” as being infrastructure projects to be proud of, not to mention the new water treatment facility, which Adams says “is the largest capital project ever for Campbell River.”

Finally, Adams thanked outgoing councilors Marlene Wright and Larry Samson for their service, before speaking on what council’s attention will now turn to: housing and taxes.

“While we have made some progress through amendments to the development permit guidelines that have enabled increased density for affordable housing projects currently under construction … there is still much, much more to be done,” Adams says, pointing to “a gap between the most vulnerable who use the sobering assessment centre and the affordable housing complexes. We need a supportive living facility that will provide the services and support that are so badly needed to assist those who truly want to improve their quality of life.”

He also said that during the last four years, council has strived to keep tax increases in line with national rate of inflation – 2-2.5 per cent – “and I will recommend we continue with this philosophy, which will continue to bring Campbell River in line, or better, than tax rates in comparable communities of our size.”

The next regular meeting of city council – the first for this term – is scheduled for Nov. 19, 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

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