Council Comment: Municipal politics is an emotional ride

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Kevin Boehmer is a first-term councillor for the Town of Creston.

Kevin Boehmer is a first-term councillor for the Town of Creston.

I am fairly certain that the motto for politics is that you won’t ever win no matter what you do. Many times as a council we spend a lot of time, energy and stress making decisions that are in the best interest of the Town of Creston. Usually with the most important decisions there is next to no feedback provided by the public, but for the items that aren’t really important we get a lot of flak.

One of the biggest successes that I feel our council has accomplished so far is our recent revitalization tax exemption bylaw. In previous years, the Town of Creston has offered a revitalization tax exemption that made it so that you didn’t pay the town portion of your taxes for the first five years, and then the five years after that you only paid 50 per cent of the town portion of your taxes for a new construction in town limits or for a large renovation to a current structure for commercial developments. The exemption was somewhat constrained to the hotel service industry, which saw places like the Ramada and Creston Hotel take advantage of this revitalization tax exemption.

Our new revitalization tax exemption will be available for any new commercial venture build or large renovation in Creston. It is not limited to the hotel industry this time around. It is part of council’s prerogative to provide a good and fair atmosphere for economic development in the town. This bylaw has been in the works throughout this year and was adopted on June 23 at our regular council meeting.

In keeping with the theme up above there has been very little public input regarding this new bylaw. That is because this is more of a big picture item that could possibly have some very positive consequences and it is not sexy at all, whereas there have been many really small issues, which often aren’t even the Town of Creston’s responsibility, that as councillors we get stopped about and someone complains to us for quite a few minutes.

I had a recent experience like this. My family and I were out and about and someone took it upon themselves to complain to me about something the town should be doing, but wasn’t. Since this happens often, I try and direct them to the appropriate channels to get this issue resolved. If someone has an issue and contacts me regarding it, I will do my best to get the issue resolved and most often times will find success. Except this person didn’t want a solution, they just wanted to complain. I am not going to use specifics about what the complaint was for, as I don’t want to embarrass someone or call them out, but this is a regular occurrence that I run up against as a councilor: People just want to complain without wanting a solution. I don’t have an issue with someone bringing up issues to me; it is very important as a councillor to know these things and I really enjoy helping to resolve these issues. But it can be very frustrating when someone just wants to complain about something, especially because I am a problem solver. Complaining just for the sake of complaining is a waste of everyone’s time, but I will always listen.

This has been the biggest challenge so far as a council, where often we deal with very important issues that the general public isn’t interested in, but is so important for the town to embark on. Other times we deal with complaints just for the sake of complaining about, most of the time, very insignificant items. I am not complaining because this is a thankless job, I am only highlighting the importance of receiving good constructive input from town residents.

We do a very good job of representing Creston residents with our current council because we have a rock star council right now. I am not sure who would play the drums, maybe Ron Toyota, but as a council we are doing a very good job looking out for the Town of Creston and planning for the future. We are not perfect, but we work really hard at making the “boring” decisions.

If you would like more information regarding the revitalization tax exemption bylaw, contact the town at 250-428-2214. If you have any issues regarding the Town of Creston (even if you just want to complain), you can email me at kevin.boehmer@creston.ca.

Kevin Boehmer is a first-term councillor for the Town of Creston.