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.
In all likelihood, a mid-term confessional from a Revelstoke city councillor won’t garner much recognition. With a Pulitzer out of the question, a more sane aspiration might simply be to gain the ear Revelstoke’s politically engaged. The big leap here is whether sanity and politics should be included in the same conversation.
In the run up to our last election, the Review offered candidates the opportunity to respond to the following: “What is the most important issue you see in Revelstoke right now?”
My 2018 politicized response (which I believe is still relevant) was:
“Housing deficits, excessive bureaucracy, lack of affordability, out of touch by-laws, worker shortages and infrastructure decline are common themes heard in municipalities across Canada today. They are indeed problems Revelstoke has to address. Opting on the biggest issue is difficult. Isolating a concern, addressing it piecemeal or worse, in a reactionary manner, may in fact be our biggest problem. Further, focusing on problems isn’t a strategy any self-help text would recommend…….”
Incorporating lessons from the past two years into that statement, I have to emphasize the importance of an end goal. A vision for the future of Revelstoke has to be clear and based on values first. Plans change, people move on, attentions shift but a value based destination will lend purpose, longevity and simplicity to community decisions
Revelstoke’s current vision statement places a determined emphasis on sustainability. In the two remaining years of council’s term, my intentions are to move both environmental and economic sustainability from rhetoric to action. Environmentally, new policy and by-laws pertaining to plastics, organic waste, traffic reduction, housing efficiency and city design are in queue for 2021. On economics, returning our community from the COVID wasteland is the most pressing issue that confronts us. Our community’s Recovery Task Force is formalizing intermediate and long term actions to mitigate the commercial train wreck associated with the viral outbreak. My vote and attention will be for timely implementation and enthusiastic support.
The by-election scheduled for in February will bring new energy to the council table. Advice I would pass along to an incoming councillor: face decisions objectively, fully understand the issues and don’t be afraid to go against the grain. Recognize that many of the council decisions won’t be easy and short term pain may be the price for long term community well-being.