Smithers town council has been officially sworn in.
It was a packed house on the evening of Nov. 1 for the inaugural meeting of the new council elected Oct. 15. Mayor Gladys Atrill was the first to be sworn in by Judge Wendy Bernt, followed by each councillor.
The gallery was packed with former councillors, other politicians, family members of the incoming council, and special musical guest star Mark Perry, who played a song at the end of the meeting.
The first item on the agenda was a speech by Atrill.
“It is indeed an honour to be sitting here as mayor of Smithers alongside this new council, wearing this chain of office,” she said. “The chain signifies the responsibility, the authority and the dignity of the office, and it is my pledge to honour this role.”
She said goodbye to the outgoing council and welcomed the new councillors, Sam Raven, Calvin Elliot, Laura Leonard, Genevieve Patterson and said hello again to the incumbent ones, John Buikema and Frank Wray.
She said the first thing for council will be to get to know each other for new councillors learn more about the town administration.
“The pace will be fast and the learning intense,” she added. “And soon there will be tours of town of owned facilities from glitzy ones, like the Smithers Regional Airport, to the not-so-glitzy sewage treatment plant, but we have to see it all.”
Atrill also mentioned that in the new year council will gather to set strategic priorities for the term.
“There are some priorities that I will bring to those discussions that have been informed by my past eight years at this table, and the feedback I’ve received from residents. We need to stay the course on asset management planning,” she said.
“This means knowing the value of all town roads, water lines and buildings, for example, and having a plan to replace them at the end of life. We have been working hard on this but we aren’t done. The long-term financial planning and commitment to increasing reserves every year runs up against the desire to keep taxation at moderate levels. This is not going to get easier. Replacement of the Smithers’ Public Library remains on my list.”
The next item on the agenda was assigning committee roles to each councillor.
Frank Wray will be the deputy mayor until June 2023.
Below is a list of councillors and their appointments.
Boards of Societies and Associations
Access Smithers Society: Coun. Raven
Bulkley Valley Museum: Coun. Leonard
Bulkley Valley Lakes District Airshed Management Society: Coun. Paterson
Chamber of Commerce: Coun. Buikema
Cycle 16 Society: Coun. Elliott
Smithers Health Committee: Coun. Paterson
Smithers Art Gallery Association: Coun. Raven
Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre – National Indigenous Peoples Day Committee: Coun. Raven
Smithers Skate Park Society: Coun. Buikema
Telkwa Coal Working Group: Mayor Atrill and Coun. Wray
Bulkley Valley Regional Pool and Recreation Centre Advisory Committee: Coun. Elliott and Coun. Buikema with Mayor Atrill and Coun. Leonard as alternates.
Voting delegate to the Municipal Insurance Association of British Columbia: Coun. Leonard with Coun. Elliott as an alternate.
North West Regional Advisory Committee (Northern Development Initiative Trust): Mayor Atrill with Coun. Wray as an alternate.
Regional District of Bulkley Nechako Board: Mayor Atrill with Coun. Wray as an alternate.
North West Regional Hospital District: Mayor Atrill
Select Committee Appointments
Fall Fair Management Committee: Coun. Wray, Coun. Paterson, with Mayor Atrill as alternate.
Standing Committee Appointments
Smithers District Transit Committee: Mayor Atrill, Coun. Wray, Coun. Paterson
Finance Committee: Coun. Buikema, chair, Coun. Leonard, vice-chair
Standing Committee on Strategic Priorities: Mayor Atrill, chair, Coun. Wray, vice-chair.
Smithers Library Board: Coun. Elliot