I am now entering my fifth month as a Town Councillor. When people ask me what I have learned so far, my initial response is that I have learned that there is much to learn! I have learned that there are a great deal of shared services provided through the Town of Creston and the Regional District of Central Kootenay. As Council’s appointed representative of the East Resource Recovery Commission, I have attended several meetings at the Regional District’s head office in Nelson and will attend many more over the duration of my appointment. The East Resource Recovery Commission strategizes and implements sustainability and operational plans for the landfill sites within the Regional District of Central Kootenay. The Commission also works on the development and implementation of recycling plans, composting plans, waste reduction plans, and much more.
There are many other committees that representatives of Council and the Regional District meet regularly on, where they do a great deal of planning on many other issues common to the Town of Creston, the Regional District of Central Kootenay and the municipalities within Central Kootenay. Each representative of Council, including the Mayor, attend regular meetings of other Government Related Agencies, Community Organizations, and Select Committees; such as: East Kootenay Regional Hospital Board, Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce, Creston Valley Community Housing Society, Creston Community Forest Corporation, Creston Valley Services Committee, and Physician Recruitment, to name a few.
This adds up to many meetings for Council representatives to attend on a regular basis, in addition to our regular Council and Committee of the Whole meetings. Council completes brief reports on all appointed Committee meetings, with the exception of Council and Committee of the Whole meetings, to ensure that each member of Council is informed on an ongoing basis. I’m not keeping score, but Mayor Toyota always has the most meetings per month! We also have workshops that guide us in strategic planning and seminars held with other regional elected officials to assist us in decision making, the public hearing process, current legal issues affecting local governments, budgeting, community planning, and many other topics. Each of these meetings, workshops, and seminars build layers of knowledge that help us better serve our community.
I have also gotten to know most of the staff in our Town Hall, and have found them to be very dedicated people that are great to work with. They are an excellent source of knowledge for us and contribute significantly to our Council meetings. They come prepared and answer all the questions we have for them. Much of what they do is behind the scenes, and I have developed a real appreciation of the roles they play in making our community such a great place to live and work. For me, it was a thrill to become part of this diverse group, and I feel a real sense of belonging as I progress on this journey.
In hindsight, following a defeat during the 2014 municipal election, I ran as an independent candidate during the 2018 municipal election and was successfully elected as a Councillor. Having had the experience of candidacy in both elections, I have come to realize that I serve the community of Creston as a whole, and that rather than just focusing on one or two community issues, being a Town Councillor means paying attention to all of the issues we as a community face, with an open mind.