November 19, 2014 - 1:41 PM
PENTICTON - There were tears around the council table during the meeting Monday night as goodbye speeches were made by three outgoing members, all of whom have served Penticton for nearly a decade.
Coun. John Vassilaki, who has been a councillor for twelve consecutive years, went first, listing council’s accomplishments over the years and giving hugs to staff and council. But he said he won’t be gone for good and will still attend council meetings as a citizen. Vassilaki risked his council position when he ran against Mayor-elect Andrew Jakubeit and lost by roughly 2,000 votes.
Vassilaki gave his wife a long hug on Saturday night after hearing the election results, and he looked displeased throughout the short council meeting Monday. Coun. Katie Robinson lost her seat to a first-time-elected candidate. She received a lot of heat for a comment she made after Boonstock festival this summer. She held back tears Monday night as she said it is hard being a councillor, and advised the incoming council to be strong and not let the public’s negativity get them down.
“It’s a new era in Penticton,” she said. And council is “right on the brink of something great,” so keep pushing forward.
Mayor Garry Litke also shed tears while giving his farewell speech. He asked the new council to continue the good work started by the outgoing council, including the downtown revitalization plan, biking trails, Skaha marina, and a new high-rise hotel to accommodate conventions.
He also stood up to certain, unmentioned media who have given Litke a hard time during his year-long stint as mayor.
“There is no mess at City Hall,” he said.
He told the incoming councillors, many of whom were in the audience, to “choose principles over popularity,” and stick to their morals. Wiping tears from his eyes, Litke remained seated as the rest of the room stood, clapping in a standing ovation.
Litke served eight years as a councillor and one as mayor while Robinson served almost 11 years.
The new council, led by Mayor-elect Andrew Jakubeit, will have its first council meeting Monday, Dec. 1, 2014 at City Hall.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014