A better Kamloops, for your family and for mine.
Mayor-Elect Christian’s Mayor’s Address
Inaugural Meeting, November 5, 2018
Madam Corporate Officer, Justice Meiklem, Kukpi7 Fred Seymour, Freemen of the City, Former Mayors Branchflower and Rothenberger, Mr. Trawin, friends and family.
I, and I am sure, my new colleagues are honoured to accept the Oath of Office tonight. October 20th brought exciting change not only here in Kamloops, but across British Columbia. 73 new Mayors are taking office today, and fully 395 new Councillors for a turnover of just under 50%.
Elections are good things. They create broad community discussion about local government and they generate new ideas, innovation and renewal. Our challenge will be to keep that dialogue alive. To that end, we are borrowing a couple of best practices from the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD). We will continue our new Council Highlights publication, similar to their Electronic Newsletter the Current which anyone can subscribe to. In addition, we will institute a listing of current and pending public consultation events as part of our regular agenda in an effort to keep the public apprised of opportunities to engage with staff and Council.
In the coming weeks, I propose to approach Council to endorse a new committee structure that will be streamlined, focused and more aligned with city services. I will ask Councillor Singh to chair along with Councillor Hunter and Dudy a Development and Sustainability Committee that will focus on, among other things, our commitment to deal with climate change and environmental stewardship, community planning and a review of Development Cost Charges.
I will ask Councillor Walsh to Chair a new Finance Committee along with Councillors O’Reilly and Sarai that will review all existing Service Agreements, enhance our digital strategy as a way of better connecting with citizens and will investigate approaches to deal with our heavy industry tax imbalance.
I intend to chair a Community Services Committee along with Councillor Bass and Councillor O’Reilly that will continue the work on Community Safety and Social Planning, and will include a Healthy Kamloops Task Force that will focus on the social determinants of health for families, seniors and those with unique needs.
I will ask Councillor Dudy to Chair a new Civic Operations Committee along with Councillor Sarai and Bass that will review service levels, address governance issues for our important utilities and delve into emerging issues such as bio-solids and organic matter recycling.
Finally, I will ask Councillor Sinclair to chair a new Community Relations Committee along with Councillor Hunter and myself that will maintain and enhance the partnerships that we have built. We will build on our relationship with Thompson Rivers University (TRU). We will continue our important work with Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc (TteS) supporting reconciliation. We will meet regularly with the Board of Education and we will continue to foster a positive business climate with partners like Tourism Kamloops, the Airport Authority, Venture Kamloops, The Chamber of Commerce, the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association and the North Shore Business Improvement Association.
Often you can hear people leaving chambers when a decision of Council did not go their way saying Council didn’t listen. I suggest that we do listen. We listen very carefully. Sometimes I hear Councillors quote almost verbatim from comments that are made. There is a distinct difference between not listening and not agreeing. I am confident this Council will listen, will research, will consult, and in the end, will decide. And while some may not agree with what we decide, be assured we will decide in good faith and with the long term interests of the entire community in mind.
The other piece of advice I have for Council is this. It is our responsibility to improve the level of discussion, dialogue and deportment in civil society and more importantly, here in Kamloops. It matters what we say. It matters how we say it. And it matters how we conduct ourselves in chambers. As we can see in other jurisdictions, if the tone and level of disregard and disagreement gets disrespectful, the community will mirror that behaviour.
In closing I speak for all of Council when I extend thanks to our families, partners and friends that support us in this important work. My personal thanks to Brenda, Jon, Vanessa, Justine, Aunty Kathy and Gramps as my support team but the room is full of folks that share our pride and optimism.
Our months of campaigning are over; our years of service now begin. Thank you.