Meet the Mayor
November 12, 2014
Within just three more sleeps a new, fresh, energetic (and somewhat scared or mystified) Council will be elected to work with the old Mayor. Odd, isn’t it, how the Mayor gets to slide into office without an election (this term) while the rest of Council has had to sweat out an expensive competition by which only six of the eight contestants will get to decide on the issues facing Chetwynd over the next four years. (It’s the four-year term that is daunting but, I guess, the years will go by no matter what we do – or fail to to.)
Many of the issues will be new iterations of those we’ve wrestled with during the term just completing. Some will slide seamlessly from old term to new. A few will be entirely new and what they will be I cannot predict today.
Like every other municipality in this fair land, Chetwynd was incorporated to deal with the mundane issues that are created when two or more people live in close proximity – building codes, safe water, dangerous dogs, septic disposal – you know, all the ordinary stuff that makes for good neighbours and pleasant neighbourhoods. If we were all hermits living on the tops of poles like St. Anthony in Egypt we wouldn’t have to consult or compromise or convince. Our personal decisions would be final and binding until we changed our minds – but no one would care. No one would be there to shout out the news or take sleazy political advantage of our inconsistencies.
One of the challenges facing every Mayor and Council, and the incoming Mayor and Council certainly will not escape it’s time-stealing, mind-bending, logic-defying presence, is the challenge of deciding on priorities. We can’t escape deciding even by not deciding. The budgets will have to be voted by the deadline though every spending option will not have been exhausted. Which spending options will be deferred? Which cancelled? Which will receive the green light? And how can Administration explain Council’s decisions to the residents whose streets do not get the upgrade this year?
Maybe you can help us identify a few major issues amidst the plethora of options clamouring for attention and dollars. Will they require investment in new infrastructure? Perhaps replacement of old and decaying sub-surface facilities important in our day-to-day routines but largely out of mind? Will they be something entirely new and shiny?
The fact of the matter is that in 2015 Council will move into Year Three of a five-year street upgrade plan. Year One: repairs were done to 40th and 41st Streets NE as well as to 52ndA Avenue NE. Year Two (last summer): 45th Avenue NW and Hillside Avenue NW were upgraded. Year Three: 44th Street and 45th Street SE are scheduled for major work. Year Four: Work is scheduled for 44thA Street NE, 51stA Avenue NE, and 44 Place NE. Year five is still open for decision.
Your ideas are important. Please share them with us.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor