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Mayor’s Column – July 11, 2018

July 11, 2018


So much can happen in seventeen years! Your cooing, drooling, burping baby can grow up, graduate, find a job and relieve you of financial responsibilities, and even make you a doting grand. It has happened before and, statistically speaking, will happen again. Just start your little replica down that road and there is no telling where it will stop.

And that’s not all! Seventeen years ago I was a spry, bike-riding, chainsaw-wielding sort of guy in denial of old age. Now, with eighty years lurking in the short-term, I am still in denial, haven’t been on my bike this summer, and have not cranked up my chainsaw with any serious intent. All that has yet to happen before winter sets in with serious intent.

And that’s not all!

During the seventeen years since I first decided to take a run at local government, a whole lot of water has gone under our bridges and a whole lot of water has spilled over our streets and into our homes and businesses. We are always happy to see summer slip into winter without that prolonged heavy downpour. You will be glad to know that your District Administration and Staff are working hard to implement certain flood prevention measures identified in our Flood Mitigation Study last winter. Details later. Having reminded you of the wild water potential of the hills above us, I also must remind you of the wonderful spirit of mutual help you all displayed during our floods of 2016 and 2011. How good to live in Chetwynd!

But the water under the bridge…

There’s that $5000 scholarship awarded annually that I had a part in pushing through Council. In fact, I wrote the terms of reference. It has been awarded a number of times but not every year since it was introduced about ten years ago. If you are a responsible student with a gift for leadership and a sense of compassion for the young, the old, and the marginalized, think seriously about applying for this little assist with your post-secondary education. A $5000 burst can go a long way with you as you pursue your dream.

The Ten-year Capital Plan is a document that must continue to guide Chetwynd’s capital spending in years to come. Updated and modified according to emerging need each year, it is always fresh and timely. It identifies the infrastructure upgrades that have top priority: the invisible water and sewer lines, the paving, the sidewalks, and other improvements that make life in our home town pleasant and safe.

In case you didn’t remember, your tax dollars fund ($40,000 annually) one of the most visible features of Chetwynd: the annual International Invitational Chainsaw Carving event. Though responsibility for the competition has been assumed by an independent society, Council is committed to continuing the funding at that level. It is that important to all of us in Chetwynd!

During the last seven years your Council has made a number of improvements to Chetwynd’s infrastructure that go beyond the usual. A work of art, the new District Centre has beautified the community immeasurably while providing a truly enviable environment for Council Chambers, office staff, administration, and Mayor and Council. It is a facility of which the District can be honestly proud.

It was also during this period that Council authorized the construction of a new Medical Centre. Functional and attractive, it has been instrumental in the District’s being able to attract a full complement of physicians, a nurse practitioner, and related medical services. As we work in close collaboration with Northern Health, this lovely facility has not appeared on your tax bill.

More water…

Chetwynd is a beautiful, functional community and your Council is serious about enhancing our beauty and functionality. Notice the flowers, the parks, the paved walking trails, the lighting, the trees. Yes, for your safety Council had to take out the aging boulevard trees but new trees are in the ground. I know, trees grow slowly but they last a long time. Our descendents will thank you for your foresight in choosing the trees for replacement.

And much more.

Careful planning and preparation has netted the District of Chetwynd millions in infrastructure grants for paving the airport runway, construction of new sewer and water treatment facilities, upgrading the ice arena, and much more. I cannot name all the sources here but I have named them in earlier columns. Chetwynd is truly grateful.

This all looks like the beginning of a campaign for re-election. Think again. Seventeen years ago I was a spry, bike-riding, chainsaw-wielding sort of guy in denial of old age. I may still be in denial but wisdom is the better part of valour. It’s time for new ideas, maybe even new directions. It’s time for someone else to take on the role of Mayor – first Monday in November. It’s coming rapidly. There, I’ve admitted it. No waffling now.

That said, I could still have something to say about the new regime. Don’t put it past me.

Oh, by the way, “hopes placed in mortals die with them; all the promises of their power come to nothing” said the ancient wise one.


Merlin Nichols, Mayor