Shelby Harvey was Revelstoke’s first female mayor. ~ Photo contributed

Personal history: Shelby Harvey

Revelstoke’s first female mayor reflects on her three years in the post and the growth of the community

  • Aug. 29, 2017 9:30 a.m.

By Melissa Jameson, Special to the Review

Shelby Harvey is a grandmother, sometimes tour guide, a member of the Revelstoke Museum & Archives, and a volunteer with the Revelstoke Hospital Auxiliary.

She also happens to hold the title of Revelstoke’s “first lady mayor.”

“It was a big change for the community to have a woman there,” said Harvey, who was mayor from 1995-1997. “My council and myself we had a lot to deal with. It was interesting times.”

During Harvey’s time as mayor the city was in litigation over Mount Mackenzie.

“We had Mount Mackenzie before we had Revelstoke Mountain Resort, and unfortunately at that time the city was in litigation over Mount Mackenzie. In my three year term we were in court a year and a half, but we did win the case.”

Harvey said during her term the city marketed Mount Mackenzie worldwide and had developers that met with the city to present their business plans.

“I can’t remember all of them but we had some unbelievable people come to Revelstoke and do their business plans. Mark McKee, who was one of my councillors at the time, he had a lot to do with the marketing of Mount Mackenzie. He was on the committee and we were trying to be very careful. Anytime you don’t know people you have to show due diligence,” she said.

Harvey is no longer involved with municipal politics, but continues to be an active member of the community. She also works at the Sandman Inn and says this year has been particularly busy.

“I don’t know if it’s because of the smoke, but there’s so many people coming to Revelstoke. There’s people coming from Kamloops and Kelowna and staying here for a day or two just to have a break from the smoke,” she said. “That’s what they’ve told me at the counter. So I found that interesting too. People want the quality of life here in Revelstoke that we have to offer.”

Harvey also sometimes works as a tour guide for 3 Valley Gap. She used to work there more often, but the grandmother of five says as she gets older it’s more difficult to manage two jobs. She helped out with a few tours earlier in the season before another tour guide was hired.

“I love history. In fact, I belong to the Revelstoke Museum and I love going to Cathy (English’s) talks. One of my things in life I’ve done is be a tour guide at 3 Valley Gap and I’ve worked with the founder Gordon Bell,” said Harvey. “Unfortunately he passed away in 2007. He was a remarkable man. He was quite the historian.”

Harvey herself isn’t from Revelstoke, but moved to the community in 1972 when her husband wanted to move back to be closer to his mother Estelle who had been in an accident.

“I’m not born and raised, but I did marry into a pioneer family. My husband’s grandfather Sandy MacDonald came to Revelstoke in 1896 from England with the rail,” said Harvey.

Looking back, Harvey says one of the biggest changes she’s seen in Revelstoke is the community’s ability to be progressive and diversified.

“I’ve always thought a diversified community, a working community, is a healthy community. The changes are there’s so many more new businesses and a lot of people work from home, which is fine. They bring a lot to Revelstoke,” said Harvey. “Look at all the new restaurants, some of the new shops that we’ve got.”

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