January 01, 2016 - 7:30 AM
The new year is upon us and with it are hopes for better times ahead. No more so than at Kamloops City Hall.
At times in the past year, the first of their four-year term, it has been a bit rocky. Certainly the debates over pesticide use and removal of the old Daily News building showed some clear divisions within council. Tempers wore thin, and more than one councillor stormed out of a meeting. The council seemed fractious more than once.
Mayor Milobar, and councillors Christian, Spina and Wallace lined up against councillors Cavers, Dudy, Lange and Walsh. Coun. Singh held the deciding vote on a number of issues.
Regardless of how the votes go on individual issues, what's equally important is how council gets along behind the scenes.
What I'd like to see in 2016 is some partnerships between the different councillors who are on opposite sides to move forward some initiatives.
I'd like to see Coun. Cavers, the youngest councillor by at least 10 years, and Coun. Wallace, the oldest councillor, bring forward a proposal for providing more grandkid-grandparent programming through the city's parks and recreation department. Even better if the city could support more kids going into seniors assisted living residences as well.
I'd like to see Coun. Christian, who spent his professional life in public health, and Coun. Lange, who ran a successful restaurant, work on ways of getting more accessible washrooms in restaurants and other public venues as part of building inspections. If they could get local washrooms cleaner as well, that would be a bonus.
Organic farmer Coun. Dieter Dudy and Italian-by-marriage Coun. Spina both have a love of good food. I'd like to see them work together to have a local food and wine map created so we can find local food and wine at the farm gate more easily. Here's hoping they both support Save-on-Foods application to sell wine in their store as well.
Activist-turned-councillor Walsh and more staid Mayor Milobar are far apart on many issues, but one thing they share is being long-time small business people. They, more than anyone on council, should understand the need for a unified business license for the region. That way, for example, a contractor could work in Kamloops, Sun Peaks and Barriere with one business license. The idea came up in the election a year ago but has since disappeared.
Coun. Singh is often seen as the peacemaker on council, as he bridges the chasm between the two sides. I'd like to see him bring forward the motion that the City of Kamloops puts money towards Canada's 150 year anniversary in 2017. Celebrating Canada is something everyone on council should be able to get behind. 2016 is one year away from 2017. It's time council decides to start preparations.
I'd like to see council embrace their differences, and find commonalities in 2016.
Happy New Year.
— Nancy Bepple is a recovering politician and local news junkie. She expects she will never recover from her love of the banjo.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016