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Mayor’s Column – February 19, 2014

Meet the Mayor

February 19, 2014

I played this tune when I asked you to elect me to the office of Mayor; I am still playing it. It goes like this: Our home town is like our houses, only bigger, noisier, more subject to change. In our houses we feel secure, warm, at home. We try to keep our houses relatively clean and in good repair. When the plumbing needs attention we give it the attention it needs; when doggie tracks in a bit of debris, we get out the vacuum; when kitty shows a tendency to scratch the furniture we take protective measures; when the paint starts to show its age we find ourselves in Home Hardware talking to colour experts; before the roof leaks we see that the necessary repairs are done. It’s a familiar routine; it costs money and time. What else would we do with our money and time?

We know all about it. There are a thousand things clamouring for our money and time so we hold a family council and we set priorities. We know we want that Mexican holiday but the roof is threatening to leak and we ignore it only at the cost of additional costs. We’re mature enough to look after ourselves.

It’s very similar in our home town. Council wrestles with priorities. We want our town to be warm and inviting. We want people driving through to say, “You know, honey, I could live in this town.” Though giving that assertion a firm dollar value is not possible, we are pretty confident that it’s good for business when people say things like this about our home town.

Past Councils have developed tools for guiding decisions about the things that can be, and should not be, allowed within the municipal boundaries. These tools have all been developed with the full participation of the tax-paying residents of Chetwynd.

I refer to the Official Community Plan (OCP), the zoning regulations, the development permit guidelines, and the bylaws that deal with issues as diverse as derelict vehicles, use of sea cans, and the number of cars you can park in your driveway. All that and more is in the bylaws.

The OCP is the umbrella concept of what we want our community to be, and where the multitudinous community components should generally be located. Guided by the OCP, the zoning regulations and bylaws are developed.

The OCP tells us where industrial development should be located, where residential construction can take place, and where commercial enterprises will best serve the community.

Occasionally, you will see the anomaly of heavy industrial activity in what should be highway commercial. Usually this activity has a history that predates the OCP and zoning regulations. We have examples of that type of development in Chetwynd. When owners cooperate with Council and Administration, steps can be taken to improve the appearance of these developments so that they more readily blend into the locations in which they were built before the OCP.


Merlin Nichols, Mayor