As of Monday night, it’s for real.
Mayor Marc Lefebvre and six city councillors took their oaths of office and received blessings Monday night, officially starting their four-year terms on Parksville city council.
Aside from their oaths, the six councillors said nary a word, likely the last time that will happen in the next four years. Lefebvre gave a short address after the oaths of office and blessings from Qualicum First Nations Chief Michael Recalma and Rev. Andrew Twiddy.
“We have been given a mandate by the people of Parksville, priorities which will guide us through the next four years,” said Lefebvre. “Many of the challenging issues before us will take wisdom and patience to complete and we will do everything in our power to confirm the confidence citizens have placed in us.”
Lefebvre made reference to the biggest issue raised in the election campaign, and likely the biggest challenge for this council in its first six months in office, the need for a new water treatment plant.
“All of us on council understand the serious responsibility we have been given,” said Lefebvre. “This includes our need to secure long-term reliable and safe potable water. For Parksville to continue to prosper and for us to maintain our quality of life, access to this vital and finite resource is essential. This will be a major undertaking which will require considered discussion and continued dialogue with our regional partners, provincial and federal governments and residents.”
(Read the entire text of Lefebvre’s speech at www.pqbnews.com)
Lefebvre has said the plan that’s on the table for a $36 million water treatment and storage facility ($27 million for Parksville, the balance for Nanoose Bay) will have to be re-assessed, possibly phased, if funding is not secured from senior levels of government by the end of May, 2015.
Council also passed motions Monday night setting the dates for 2015 meetings and assigning councillors duties as representatives and liaisons on various boards and committees. Lefebvre will represent the city on the Regional District of Nanaimo’s board of directors, a job he had as a councillor the past three years.
First-time Coun. Mary Beil was selected to represent council on the Vancouver Island Regional Library Board. A former school principal, Beil said Monday night she was pleased with that appointment, calling the library her “second or third home.”
Another first-time councillor, Kirk Oates, spoke about what he was feeling when reading the oath of office.
“It was incredibly humbling,” said Oates. “It feels real now; it’s very exciting.”
Aside from Lefebvre, Beil and Oates, sworn into office Monday night as city councillors were Al Greir, Teresa Patterson, Sue Powell and Leanne Salter.
The first regular meeting for this council is scheduled for Dec. 15.
After that, council will not formally meet again until Jan. 19, 2015.