Gary Sulz has been mayor of Revelstoke for two years. This is his second term on city council. (Submitted)

Gary Sulz has been mayor of Revelstoke for two years. This is his second term on city council. (Submitted)

2 year anniversary: Mayor Gary Sulz says collaboration is the best way forward

As the mayor looks back on their first two years in office, a byelection looms

Gary Sulz

Mayor of Revelstoke

Rob Elliott

Revelstoke City Councillor

The beginning of November 2020 marked the current city council’s two year anniversary. With the byelection coming up and 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. A questionnaire was sent to all of council and the mayor. See last week’s paper or read online to hear from the others.

We have just passed the mid point of our current term in office and with that I am grateful for the support the community has given me. The past two years have provided both high points and some low points but together we move forward for the benefit of the entire community. As the community grows so does the time commitment for me as mayor. I spend more hours dedicated to the overall welfare of the community through meetings with residents, groups, and community boards. With these commitments, I am less able to engage with the community through the social media platforms. However, residents find it easier to engage with me via telephone, e-mail, or personal conversation on the street. I encourage you to continue that.

While listening has always been part of the mayor’s job it is also assisting to bring collaboration to many groups that help in getting projects completed. If there is one thing that I have learned over the past two years, it is that some community members think that the mayor has the power to police others. That is just not the case. The mayor is the Chief Executive Officer of the municipality and has all the responsibilities of a councillor plus several additional responsibilities under the Community Charter. Part of this is providing leadership to council by recommending bylaws, resolutions and other measures that may assist in providing good governance of the municipality. The mayor sits as the chair of the council meeting but has no more power to vote that any other councillor around the table.

As we move forward to the end of our term, we are challenged to complete several policies and bylaws. The Official Community Plan update is in process and with that comes updates to the Zoning Bylaw, Development Cost Charges and Community Amenity Contributions. The Liquid Waste Management Plan is also significant and will inform us on what options are available to deal with wastewater treatment.

Most residents in our community, myself included, understand that basic housing continues to be a difficulty here. The lack of housing for all residents; including affordable housing will be an issue for all tourist-based communities for many years to come. I believe our needs in Revelstoke can only be addressed by collaboration with others. Some of these collaborations will include the Revelstoke Community Housing Society, B.C. Housing, and of course developers.

Also important to the greater community is working with the Provincial Government, the CSRD and community groups in dealing with Backcountry Land Use, the protection of Mt. Begbie and protection areas for caribou.

We now have the by-election in front of us and I hope that several people will consider running for the open seat on council. I am hoping that people who have a commitment to our greater community will run. Those who have an axe to grind or feel that they need to run the operations side of the city should reconsider running. If you are willing to assist in making our community a better place, willing to withstand the criticism that may come along with the position and willing to accept ideas that differ then this might be the job for you. Priorities are not always shared. This is a good thing. It means that our community gets healthy representation. We want to elect people who care. However, caring in and of itself is not enough. Knowing how to govern is slightly more complicated that just having an opinion. Policy governance takes both understanding and practiced skills. The most effective elected officials are the ones who understand the system, not the ones who blame the system. Change comes through knowledge and implementation, not through tearing down. Local government is a community effort that requires a team approach.

Again, I am grateful for the community and look forward to the next two years of this term with a full a council.

COVID-19 has significantly altered how we all do business and interact with each other. Safety is the number one rule that we all must take care of and in doing so we should be able to continue to attend school, keep our businesses open and be able to go to work every day. Please be safe and considerate of each other.



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