Mayor Michelle Staples and the new council for the City of Duncan’s new term were sworn in last night.
The event was well attended, with several mentions to a full council chambers. Some prominent local figures were in the house, in North Cowichan Mayor Rob Douglas and Lake Cowichan Mayor Tim McGonigle among others.
At the meeting, Staples along with each member of council was sworn in and gave their own addresses to a full council chamber. With Mike McKinlay replacing Bob Brooke at the council table, the council looks pretty much the same as the last term. Several returning councillors brought up how they sought re-election because of the calibre and camaradrie found in the other councillors.
MAYOR MICHELLE STAPLES INAUGURAL ADDRESS
In her 20 minute address, Staples says that familiarity of most members of council will help them through this term.
“Together we’re going to have a lot of things that we’re going to need to support each other through and it’s not going to be easy,” says Staples. “I believe that we can do it because of what we’ve been through.”
What they’ve been through is in reference to the extraordinary circumstances faced due to the pandemic.
“We all worked together to meet the times that were upon us,” says Staples. “We kept coming together. Everyone kept showing incredible courage.”
She says for this next term they’ll be focusing on their next Official Community Plan, restructuring the boundaries of the city, and relationships with neighbouring jurisdictions. All while facing a whole new set of challenges.
“The next four years will come with a lot of hard realities,” says Staples. “There’s talk of a global recession. There are more people finding themselves without homes. We have an opiod crisis. We have a climate crisis and many other things that we’re faced with.”
She also mentioned inflation and how food banks are going to be used by all different types of people moving forward.
“We’re going to have a lot of work to do to make sure that people don’t feel too ashamed to ask for the help that they need.” says Staples.
Staples pointed to The Village on Trunk Road as an example of their having made a difference through that first term. Councillors gave a presentation at the Union of BC Municipalities convention this year, which lead to the go-ahead on a similar project to The Village in Port Alberni.
She says, “Everyone here, whether they support it or not, should be proud that we’re trying to do something, and that those some things that we are doing are actually making a difference and being recognized across this country.”
Another focus was on improving relations with Indiginous peoples in the community.
Staples says, “We as non-Indiginous people have to educate ourselves and have to show up in new ways and have to recognize what has happened so that we can move forward in a good way.”