Out with the old… in with the new!
Final council meeting for 4 of 5
An unprecedented 4 new Councillors will take over the reins of the RM of Victoria Beach July 27, 2018. The final meeting for the current council members was ‘business as usual’, witnessed by a small attendance of ratepayers and several hopeful candidates, bidding them farewell. The regular Agenda items were covered one after the next with little discussion. Under Other Business, Reeve Brian Hodgson addressed the news report concerning Private Property signs that had been placed on beach-front property traditionally used by the general public to access the beach until now. Along Hwy. 59, a stretch of waterfront, privately owned for generations, has been reclaimed by them for their own use. He explained that Riparian Rights is a term which defines the right of access to the water and the shoreline for owners of land adjacent to it.
Moving on, a brief discussion of issues around the water plant, higher than usual chlorine levels at Albert Beach, were addressed, as well as a question on fire safety during hot, dry weather conditions. The need for more awareness when getting a fire permit was suggested. Then a collision of two eras occurred when items under Correspondence were acknowledged. The first wanted the pay phone reinstalled at a particular location (not going to happen), and the other complained about a MTS Hotspot (not an RM-provided service).
As Question Period arrived, a number of residents took the time to thank the councillors for their dedicated service, acknowledging that it could not have been an easy task. Several requests were made, following up on items left unresolved, and the CAO was able to respond with whatever action had been taken and when a resolution would be forthcoming. Some actionable items were mentioned that were noted for referral to the Operations Manager to handle.
One very thoughtful question was addressed specifically to the two current members of Council vying for the position of Reeve. It had to do with going forward: what will each do to restore peace and harmony into the community and on Council. Penny McMorris reiterated the theme with her commitment to work together with respect, seek the truth and strive to do her best. Brian Hodgson offered his insight that he was now much more aware of the varying communities within the RM – each uniquely special. He would reach out to the community groups to get their input before making a Master Plan for budget purposes, to inject a more equitable distribution of services.
Current councillors were asked for any comments on their time on Council. Linda McMillan replied: “I know that some people may not have appreciated every decision that I have made, but I tried to look at the entire community whenever I made a decision, not just the issues of a small group. The 4-year term has been invigorating and good for my brain.” Kathy McKibbin responded: “I would just like to say ‘thank you’ to all the ratepayers who have supported me over the last 8 years. It has been a pleasure to serve you.” Gord Buchanan, who was elected in a by-election, was overheard telling folks “I didn’t know what I was in for. I am leaving Council after having lots of differing opinions, but we are all still able to greet each other with a smile.”