Revelstoke City Councillor
The beginning of November 2020 marked the current city council’s two year anniversary. With the by-election coming up in February, we asked each of the councillors and mayor what the past two years has been like and if they have any advice for those considering putting their name on the ballot. These questions were shared with all five councillors as well as the mayor.
The last two years serving on city council has been the absolute honour of a lifetime. The experience has been informative, challenging, frustrating at times but mostly rewarding. I am forever grateful to the residents of our community for giving me the opportunity to serve as one of your city councillors.
Prior to getting elected, I paid pretty close attention to politics but until actually elected, I didn’t fully understand the inner workings of the bureaucracy and why things happen the way they do. I have learned so much since day one, from how and why City Hall operates the way it does, to understanding importance of Development Services or how much it costs just to keep the lights on at the aquatic centre.
Most important though, I have learned just how much our community cares and how much you want your civic leaders to engage with you. Since day one, I have ensured that I am consistently active on social media, posting about the positives and the negatives of our city, while giving my opinion on various decisions that have been made. While you may not always agree with my decisions, I have seen first-hand that by just simply engaging and communicating, our residents now have a better understanding and are much more engaged in the civic process then they were two years ago. If I can walk away from this role knowing that If nothing else our community is better informed and more engaged, I will be quite content.
I have goals that I would like to see accomplished before the end of my term, but one thing I have learned is that one councillor can’t do it all by her or himself. It takes a supportive mayor and staff to get ideas to the table and then a majority vote to see things through. Before the end of our term, I would like to see action taken on several resolutions that I have made or been a part of, which include: an updated Development Cost Charges Bylaw, amending our zoning to allow for detached secondary suites, improved school traffic safety, more market rate rental units and an overall slowing of the rate of taxation/fees.
I commend anybody who puts themselves out there to run for public office. It is a thankless job but extremely rewarding. Make sure you listen to your fellow councillors, staff and most of all the public, but don’t let anybody influence you or let the last person who spoke to you decide for you. Some may think they are accountable to the mayor and or city staff, but that is patently false. You are accountable to nobody but the electorate – don’t forget it.
Revelstoke faces many challenges in the next few years, but in many ways we are fortunate to face them. We are a growing city that pre-COVID-19 had a thriving economy.
Challenges we face and will continue to face post COVID-19 include the high cost of living, lack of affordable/attainable housing, and a city infrastructure (roads, sewer, water) that continues to cost more to run and needs repairs/replacement that will cost us tens of millions of dollars. Determining how to replace these assets while ensuring we aren’t bankrupting our businesses and residents due to taxation is the challenge, but I’m up for it.
We must continue to see investments in housing from the provincial and federal governments, as that will help improve the housing crisis we face.