Change in the air for community

New faces on council, similar turnout at the polls.

Christmas is in the air – change might be too.

On Saturday, you, Sicamous, voted in a new council – as in completely new. Well, almost. When sworn in on Dec. 1, Coun. Terry Rysz takes on the title of mayor. And the three-vote difference between councillor-elect Janna Simons and incumbent Fred Busch means there will likely be a recount. Other than that, there will be all new faces on council.

Undoubtedly, the most interesting aspect of this election was the success of the team approach taken by council candidates Colleen Anderson, Gord Bushell, Todd Kyllo, Malcolm Makayev and Jeff Mallmes. This mix clearly struck the right chord with the electorate. And, given each of the team member’s respective backgrounds, the next four years may very well mark the beginning of another upswing for the community – bringing Sicamous back into the black, so to speak.

That said, it would be unfair to expect immediate change. There’s quite a learning curve for newcomers to municipal council as they immerse themselves in the do’s and don’ts of local government and its bureaucracy. It typically takes a year for a council to learn what needs to be learned, and to gel as, well, a team. So, in that sense, Anderson, Bushell, Kyllo, Makayev and Mallmes are already a step ahead.

Unfortunately, one thing that didn’t change this year was voter turnout. Of the 2,253 residents eligible to vote, only 904 people, or 40 per cent, exercised that right. That’s two more people than the 902 who voted in the 2011 election.

What’s the message there?

Rysz has been using the word “engaged” a lot as of late. As in, Sicamous’ new mayor and council (as well as those who weren’t elected), need to be engaged with the community, and the community with the district, in order to get some momentum going in everyone’s favour. This antipathy for apathy, if practised unwaveringly with sincerity and respect, might actually improve voter turnout, and help council help the community bring about the change that most everyone is anxiously waiting for.