Newly sworn in Mayor Ward Stamer accepts the gavel from retiring Mayor Virginia Smith during the Inaugural Meeting of the Municipal Council for the District of Barriere on Nov. 5, 2018. Jill Hayward photo:

New mayor and council sworn in for District of Barriere

A new mayor and three new members to council for District of Barriere

The Inaugural Meeting of the Municipal Council for the District of Barriere took place last Monday evening at the Ridge with a poor showing of area citizens in attendance.

Dignitaries in attendance included; Bill Kershaw Thompson Nicola Regional District (TNRD) Area ‘O’ elect, as well as Carolyn Black and Doug Reay also from the TNRD. The colour guard included RCMP Cpl. Rob Wellman, two members of the Cadets 2305 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Core with Lieutenant Mark Tremblay, Barriere Fire Chief Ashley Wohlgemuth, and Deputy Fire Chief Todd English.

Outgoing Mayor Virginia Smith thanked the councilors and staff who she served with, saying, “I look back with pleasure on what this community has become in the 11 years we have been in council. “I feel very confident in the council that has now come in,” said Smith, “Especially with Mayor Stamer coming in behind me – I am ecstatic. And in the future I hope to see him in Victoria representing us.”

Officiating to perform the Council Oaths of Office was The Honourable S.R. Harrison, who has performed this service for the municipality since it was incorporated 11 years ago. The Oaths of Office were given to Mayor Ward Stamer, Councilors Donna Kibble, Scott Kershaw, Rob Kerslake, Al Fortin and Judy Armstrong. Earlier in the day councilor Amanda Sabyan had taken her oath of office as she was unable to attend the Inaugural Meeting for personal reasons.

The District of Barriere council chamber gavel was then passed from Mayor Smith to incoming Mayor Stamer, and gifts were then presented to Mayor Smith for her service to Barriere, and also outgoing councilors Pat Paula, and Mike Fennell who was not in attendance.

To outgoing Mayor Smith, Stamer said, “Your commitment to our community was displayed in the many accomplishments throughout your service. We are grateful for your husband Ron’s and your support in building the Field House at the main ball park. You were the driving force in our Communities in Bloom competitions and in the success of bringing Barriere together in such a great cause. You have been through thick and thin and your tenure as mayor was a steadying force. I’m going to miss you on council.”

Mayor Stamer thanked outgoing councilor Paula, saying, “Pat has also been on council from the beginning. Always one to do what had to be done. Her expertise and knowledge will be missed, as well as her desire to get to the bottom of things and keep it simple. “I was just wondering” was her trademark question and I hope to be able to rely on her support in the future.”

Of outgoing councilor Fennell, Stamer said, “Mike was our first and second mayor, as well as serving as councilor this last term. Over these years he has demonstrated an enthusiasm for Barriere and an incredible work ethic throughout the district. I will miss his “point of order”, and as well hope to be able to rely on Mike to help us as we move Barriere forward.”

Mayor Stamer then gave his inaugural address saying, “On behalf of the entire community a grateful thanks to all the people who put their names forward as candidates in this election. It takes courage and desire to run in an election and everyone deserves to be congratulated on a respectful campaign.”

Stamer noted some of the accomplishments in the past four years for Barriere which included; the Solar Aquatics Reclamation Centre, two new production wells in Bradford Park, a new water tanker for the Fire Department, incorporating Highway Rescue into the Fire Department, expansion and development of the parks, the splash pad and the playground at the Ridge, and building stronger solid waste and recycling management plans.

Stamer said there is much to be done over the coming weeks and months. “During the election Affordable Housing, and the lack of it in Barriere was on the top of everyone’s list. We as council will be digging in with both feet on this and other important business as out term begins.”

He stated that the new council will be reviewing the Downtown revitalization Plan to make the necessary changes to be able to encourage more investment and development in the downtown core and throughout the District. He also spoke about there being more focus on economic development especially for the underutilized industrial lands.

“We will work towards more exposure for our existing businesses with increased Internet speed and website development, more effective highway signage and working harder with our Chamber of Commerce and all levels of government in promoting Barriere,” said Stamer.

He closed my saying, “We also needs to continue to improve how we connect to our community and our citizens. A more interactive and informative District website, more community involvement in meetings and communities, and more opportunities for feedback in what the District is doing and how we can make Barriere better.

“I am excited to be your new mayor and to be part of our council. I think we have a good mix of experience and enthusiasm and together we will all make Barriere an even greater place to live, raise a family and be thankful in where we have chosen to live.”

The meeting then closed with other business which included announcing that Mayor Stamer has been appointed as the District’s director to the Thompson Nicola Regional District and that Councilor Rob Kerslake will be the alternate. Financial signing authority for the District of Barriere will be Mayor Stamer and Councilor Kibble.

Refreshments and deliciously tasty treats courtesy of Sam’s Pizza and Rib House rounded out the evening.

The next council meeting for the District of Barriere will be held Nov. 19, at 7 p.m.

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