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Parksville mayor outlines term priorities in inauguration speech

Doug O’Brien elected in Oct. 15 municipal election
Mayor Doug O’Brien gave his inauguration speech during the new city council’s first meeting on Nov. 7. (PQB News file photo)

Parksville’s new mayor, Doug O’Brien, gave his inauguration speech on Nov. 7, which outlined his priorities for the next term.

O’Brien was elected in the Oct. 15 municipal election, along with a new six-person council.

“Honoured guests, members of council, residents of the City of Parksville, city staff, families and friends, it is my privilege to speak to you this afternoon as your new mayor and to welcome you to our inaugural meeting for the 2022-2026 term of office.

It is with respect that I acknowledge we are meeting today on the traditional territory of the Coast Salish people and the home of Snaw Naw As First Nation and the Qualicum First Nation. We are grateful for this opportunity. I also wish to recognize Adam Walker, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum.

My congratulations and warm welcome to your new Parksville Council – Mary Beil, Adam Fras, Amit Gaur, Joel Grenz, Sylvia Martin and Sean Wood. I look forward to working with you over the next four years and thank you for your willingness to serve the residents of Parksville. Throughout the election campaign, you were all clear and passionate about your commitment to our community. Today a new chapter begins as does the work ahead of us.

I believe we share a common vision for the City of Parksville and its residents, and we understand the commitment and the responsibility given to us by the residents of Parksville. You are all leaders who bring your own skills and knowledge to council. I’m grateful to be joined in this effort by city council and I’m confident we have a strong council team that will reflect the priorities of our residents. We are here to work together toward the same goal, to make Parksville the best community it can be.

One of my goals as mayor is to improve the dialogue and transparency of council business and this begins by listening. Serving on council the past four years has been a privilege that has provided many opportunities to engage with community members and be able to listen to their stories, concerns and suggestions on ways to improve our community. I am grateful for their sharing and for their passion for our city.

I heard what you had to say and now my priority will be to act on the issues most important to you.

• You wish to live in a safe and secure community with safe sidewalks, more controlled pedestrian crossings, traffic calming and bike friendly routes with secure bike storage.

• You want to retain a small-town atmosphere and a vibrant downtown with densified housing options along with dining, entertainment venues and street markets.

• You want to maintain a healthy lifestyle with more trails and recreation options such as an aquatic centre and you wish for more dedicated pickleball courts.

• You expect the mayor and council to provide governance with compassion and collaboration.

My sincere thank you to Parksville residents for your confidence and trust in me; first four years ago as councillor and now as mayor. I am honoured to have your support.

We are all neighbours – we use the same wonderful parks in our city, shop in the same stores and truly all want what is best for Parksville. My personal belief is that “ALL PEOPLE MATTER”.

I encourage everyone in our community to practice kindness and respect to each other. That “small town feeling”, we all desire is achieved by creating community where we live, perhaps being more tolerant of our differences or seeking common ground on issues. Harness the incredible benefit of providing a smile to a stranger.

My commitment to Parksville, to city staff and the community is to be an advocate for Parksville, to lead the best way I know how and to create opportunities for people in Parksville to live, work, play, and thrive.

Thank you for being here. I am honoured by your presence and grateful for the incredible privilege of serving as Mayor of Parksville.”

The next regular council meeting is set for Nov. 21 in the forum of the Parksville Civic and Technology Centre.

— NEWS Staff, submitted