Pemberton council sworn in 

Committee appointments deferred to Dec. 16

click to enlarge PHOTO BY BRADEN DUPUIS - MAYOR AND COUNCIL  From left: Mayor Mike Richman with councillors Jennie Helmer, Joanne Molinaro, Karen Ross and James Linklater.
  • photo by braden dupuis
  • MAYOR AND COUNCIL From left: Mayor Mike Richman with councillors Jennie Helmer, Joanne Molinaro, Karen Ross and James Linklater.

With the votes counted and the winners announced, all that was left was to make it official.

At the Dec. 2 council meeting, Pemberton's new mayor and council were sworn into office.

"It feels good. I'm glad we're moving on," said Mayor Mike Richman after the short-but-sweet meeting. "We had a good little orientation for a couple days so we've already started to slowly work into the groove a bit, but I'm anxious to really get going."

With family and friends looking on, Pemberton's new council — Richman, newly elected councillors Karen Ross, Joanne Molinaro, Jennie Helmer and incumbent James Linklater — took the oath of office and assumed their seats at the council table.

Council's inaugural meeting was adjourned in less than an hour and took a decidedly lighthearted tone.

"There's very strong-willed and very well-intentioned people in the room, and I'm sure there's going to be a lot of passion and it will get quite serious," Richman said afterwards.

"So I'm looking forward to a lot of humour and keeping things on the right tone. I think it's pretty important. We've got to take ourselves for what we are. We're a small town and we've been given a big responsibility, but you've got to break stress with a little bit of humour as far as I'm concerned."

But future council meetings are not likely to be so quick and easy, and starting Dec. 16, the real work begins.

"Strategic planning and the budget are right on the doorstep, so we have no choice but to get into that," Richman said. "They're obviously pretty closely tied together, so it will be interesting as a group to see how we come out of strategic planning, to see, as a whole, what our direction is right off the hop."

And in a conversation that took place less than 20 minutes after he was officially sworn in, Richman had no trouble listing his immediate priorities — starting, of course, with the budget.

"We've got to look at our finances, we've got to start building some reserves for our infrastructure. That's right at the top of our list. After that I want to make sure we're still looking at boundary extension," he said.

"I'd like to really start working on making Pemberton a little bit more walkable and more rideable. I think we need some bike lanes and some better passageways to make it safer... And then really start building the relationships with the Lil'wat Nation and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD)."

Richman will have a front row seat for future SLRD meetings, as the Dec. 2 meeting also saw him appointed as Pemberton's representative on the SLRD board. Molinaro will serve as his alternate.

Other committee appointments have been deferred to the Dec. 16 meeting of council.

"I'm very thankful for the faith voters have put in me, and I will work my butt off to make good by my promises," Richman said. "I'm looking forward to it. Let's dig in and go."

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