2015 IN REVIEW: Mayor says 2015 was a good year for Town of Creston

Web Lead

  • Dec. 30, 2015 4:00 p.m.
Ron Toyota is in his third term as mayor of Creston.

Ron Toyota is in his third term as mayor of Creston.

Mayor Ron Toyota says that 2015 was a good year for the town, and points to a council that was elected late in 2014 as proof.

“I have enjoyed all three of my terms in office,” he said. “But our current council is special — good age and gender balance, well-prepared, eager to ask questions, very positive and co-operative.”

Toyota said that a strong start that included a joint inauguration with new Lower Kootenay band council members in December 2014 continued through 2015.

“This is a very dedicated group,” he said, pointing to the attendance statistics he keeps.

Four councilors — Kevin Boehmer, Karen Unruh, Jen Comer and Joe Snopek — attended at least 95 per cent of council and committee meetings. Toyota, Joanna Wilson and Jim Elford, attended 89 per cent of the meetings. In Toyota’s case, most of his absences were due to other mayoralty commitments, such as his role as a director on the provincial Municipal Financial Authority of BC.

Among the highlights for 2015 was completion of the Pine Street intersection with Northwest Boulevard, which will ultimately play a role in moving Highway 3 traffic onto Cook Street.

“Getting that project done as soon as possible is one of my priorities, and we continue to work toward that goal with the Ministry of Transportation,” he said

Coffee Talks have continued from Toyota’s previous terms, and attendance at the most recent has improved in recent months.

Much of his satisfaction comes from behind the scenes work, such as with the successful physician recruitment program financed by the town and Regional District of Central Kootenay.

And slowly but surely, the empty downtown buildings that were a 2014 election issue have been filling.

“There are fewer vacancies, with new niche market shops opening up, which is exactly what a small community needs,” Toyota said. “The Town of Creston can’t do a lot about those vacancies, but we work hard to create a welcoming atmosphere for businesses to operate in.”

Toyota is well known for his fundraising enthusiasm, and in December he raised more than $10,000 for the Creston Ministerial Association’s annual hamper fund and the Creston Valley Gleaners Society food bank.

“I just put the challenge out to friends, colleagues and other citizens — and I am continually amazed at how generous they are in response. But we all know we live in a great community.”

Toyota is adamant that Creston is just one part of the Creston Valley, and he said there is a level of co-operation with regional directors and other services that bodes well for the future.

“The Town of Creston does not work in isolation,” he said. “We are part of a larger community and we take that role seriously. Agriculture and agri-tourism, for instance, will be important as we focus on our future and is in our best interest as a town to look beyond boundaries shown on maps.”