The new Qualicum Beach town council marched into the inaugural meeting at the Civic Centre with full pomp and circumstance to take the oaths of office Monday night.
“During this last term, council was often divided and at turns in open conflict,” re-elected mayor Teunis Westbroek said before reading a statement on behalf of council, referring to the sometimes heated election debates.
“Now that the election is over there is speculation about how these varying visions and points of view might roll out… I would ask that we do not take too much time in speculation but try to find areas of common ground and see how we can move forward together.”
Westbroek, who has been mayor for 15 years, said they will work on “issues that are core to our community, including, but not limited to: improving our community consultation and engagement, maintaining fiscal responsibility, fostering economic opportunities, improving planning methods and tools and appropriately engaging other level of government over community concerns such as those in the health sector.”
The new council is Bill Luchtmeijer, the only returning councillor, Barry Avis, who was a councillor previously, and newcomers Neil Horner and Anne Skipsey.
Council gave gifts to everyone involved in the ceremony including RCMP Staff Sgt. Brian Hunter, Mount Arrowsmith Piper Josh Dieleman, town crier Len Mustard, Maureen O’Hearn who sang O Canada and Rev. Phil Spencer who gave a blessing.
Council appointed Westbroek as the town representative to the Regional District of Nanaimo board, with each councillor taking a year of the newly extended four year term, as an alternate.
They also appointed Avis as the town representative on the Vancouver Island Regional Library board for one year, with Horner as the alternate.
The council meeting schedule was set, with the first two regular meetings set for Jan. 12 and 26 at 7 p.m. in council chambers.
Outgoing councillors Dave Willie and Mary Brouilette were also presented with large framed art works and Westbroek updated the audience on Scott Tanner who suffered a stroke just before the election and didn’t run.
He said Tanner is doing well with his chemo and radiation treatment for brain cancer in Victoria and has decided to stay there to do rehabilitation work.
“I’m sure all of us agree, when he comes back we’re going to make it a special event.”