(Editor’s note: what follows is the text of Mayor Marc Lefebvre’s inaugural address Monday night in Parksville city council chambers. The text was supplied by the city and is unedited):
Honoured guests, members of Council, members of Qualicum First Nation, City staff and residents of the City of Parksville, it is my privilege to speak to you this evening as your new Mayor and to welcome you to our inaugural meeting for the 2014-2018 term of office.
[Acknowledgement of former mayors in attendance]
Let me first offer my congratulations to Councillors Powell and Greir who were successfully re-elected. A warm welcome to newly elected Councillors, Mary Beil, Kirk Oates, Teresa Patterson and Leanne Salter. To my fellow members of Council, thank you for your willingness to serve our beautiful, vibrant and energetic city and I look forward to working with you over the next four years.
It is indeed an honour to acknowledge and express appreciation and gratitude to the members of Council not returning to office – former Mayor Chris Burger and Councillors Bill Neufeld, Carrie Powell-Davidson and Peter Morrison.
To the residents of Parksville, thank you for supporting my candidacy and for allowing me the great privilege to serve as your mayor for the next four years. I am humbled by the confidence you have shown in me.
For new Council members, tonight’s meeting is the beginning of an exciting new chapter in your lives. I know just how hard you worked to gain the trust of our residents. Through the electoral process, you voiced your passion for our community and your commitment of time and energy to benefit Parksville. You now have a tremendous opportunity to make a lasting contribution to this fine city.
We have been given a mandate by the people of Parksville, priorities which will guide us through the next four years. 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.
Council has an important responsibility to maintain a long-term perspective in its decision making. We will continue to engage with our community in ways which provide all residents an opportunity to participate and share views on the future of our City. Keeping in mind our limited financial resources and the overriding need for fiscal discipline, we will review priorities in the 20 year capital plan; setting the right priorities is critically important.
I believe we share a common vision for the City of Parksville and its residents. All of us on Council understand the serious responsibility we have been given. This includes our need to secure long-term reliable and safe potable water, For Parksville to continue to prosper and for us 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.
City staff is capable and ready to assist and provide sound advice to help Council with the decisions we will be making on your behalf. There are also many organizations and groups who share a similar desire to see Parksville thrive and we will continue to reach out to these partners and stakeholders. Our City is made up of individuals willing to share their expertise and experience and we will continue to rely on these volunteers.
As a Council, we won’t always agree on our approach to the challenges we face. This is an important part of decision making which respects the independence of members as well as the process. Each Councillor should come to the table with an independent viewpoint, fully researched and considered and ready to persuade fellow councillors to support a position. Let us resolve to always treat one another with respect and at no time should we lose sight that we are working for the citizens of Parksville.
I wish to conclude my remarks by acknowledging we have entered into a new era in our relationship with First Nations, on whose traditional territory this meeting is held. We are hopeful this evening’s blessing by Qualicum First Nation is the beginning. We share this land and wish to work together for the benefit of our communities.
We have much to be thankful for and I look forward to serving the residents of Parksville. Let the four years begin, we are ready.