Politics need not be thankless

Outgoing council deserves thanks for working hard to pull community through difficult term.

I’ve heard municipal politics is a thankless job, but I know this isn’t the case.

For example, last Wednesday, I witnessed Sicamous’ outgoing mayor and council thank themselves (as well as staff and the community).

This was during the last regular meeting of council’s three-year term, an occasion attended by less than 10 people (myself included).

Council candidates Jeff Mallmes and Gord Bushell, who were also in attendance, took advantage of question period to thank Mayor Darrell Trouton and Coun. Suzanne Carpenter, who were not seeking re-election, as well as the rest of council for service to the community.

A classy gesture for sure.

I expect Trouton and council have received plenty of thanks over the past three years, as well as plenty criticism and, likely, some not-so-kind words. As they say, you can’t please everyone. And a new team of councillors was elected, so clearly Sicamous is wanting and ready for change.

During a pre-emptive farewell speech, Coun. Fred Busch suggested the water treatment plant will be the outgoing council’s crowning achievement. I suggest it should also be remembered for actions taken during the turmoil of the 2012 flooding, including the debris flow at 2 Mile and the subsequent flooding during high water.

The first year is typically a learning period for a new council. In its first seven months, however, Sicamous’ outgoing mayor and councillors suddenly found themselves submerged in a state of emergency. This meant their first year was spent learning (or relearning) the ropes of local government, as well as how to navigate upper-level government agencies in appealing for aid. And then there was the tension that followed, much of it stemming from the ongoing need for safe, clean drinking water.

Coun. Terry Rysz has stated he’ll be taking a hands-on approach as mayor after he’s sworn in on Dec. 1. That seemed to be the way of his predecessor, Trouton, who impressed with his willingness to get his hands dirty if need be. Literally.

On June 23, as the debris flow was happening, our photographer James Murray and I were stuck at a roadblock on 97A, waiting to see if we could get someone to take us through so we could do our job. While waiting, I overheard Trouton was at the scene, assisting with the evacuation effort. That got me wondering how many mayors would do that, as opposed to being glued to a phone away from the danger, attempting to co-ordinate others to get the work done?

All in all, the outgoing council was dealt a lousy hand with the flood and the community appears to have pulled through. And for that they deserve some thanks.

Of course, there’s lots more work to be done, and I wish the new council all the best in moving the community forward. No doubt they too will face criticism. But don’t be afraid to give thanks where it’s due. Municipal politics may not be a thankless, but it’s far from a stroll in the park.


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