Fernie and Sparwood officially have their mayors and councils for the next four years, with both towns holding inaugural meetings on Tuesday (Nov. 1).
In Fernie, the inaugural ceremony took place at the Senior Citizens Drop-in Centre at 7 p.m.
Mayor Nic Milligan and councillors Kyle Hamilton, Tracey Audia Kelly, Troy Nixon, Harshan Ramadass and Ted Shoesmith all gave their oaths of office in front of a crowd of citizens, City of Fernie staff and representatives from emergency services. Councillor-elect Kevin McIsaac was not present for the ceremony and will be sworn in at a later date.
Following the oaths, Milligan gave his inaugural address, and thanked all who voted in the Fernie election and those who placed their trust in the new council.
“We will honour that trust by working hard on your behalf, by leading with integrity, and being fair, honest and compassionate, and by working together to build a stronger and more resilient Fernie,” he said, then thanking the previous mayor and councillors for their service.
He said the new council looks forward to working with city staff on a “more accessible, inclusive meeting environment that welcomes public participation.”
“We are, every one of us in this room, more than aware that we have significant challenges ahead, but as I said more than once in this campaign, with courage and hard work, nothing is beyond us as a community. It’s through collaboration and open dialogue that will liberate the ideas that will move us all forward,” Milligan said.
He spoke about the importance of respect and kindness, and encouraged councillors to engage fellow residents to understand their needs and the challenges they face every day.
“At this exciting moment, as mayor, my commitment to you is that I will not lose sight of whom I serve, the people of Fernie, and that I’ll work every day to honour the faith you’ve placed in my leadership. Thank you.”
An hour earlier at 6 p.m. in Sparwood, the inaugural ceremony was being held in the district’s council chambers.
The oaths of office were administered, with returning mayor David Wilks, and councillors Amy Cardozo, Chris Nand, John Baher, Steven Kallies, Jason Christensen and Sam Atwal inaugurated for their four-year term.
In his address, Wilks thanked outgoing councillors, welcomed new and returning ones, and spoke about past projects undertaken by the district and projects they are looking towards in the future.
“Like every council before us… we will do our very best to move Sparwood forward in a progressive, but conservative way,” Wilks said.
“We will, during this term, conduct bi-annual town hall meetings with the citizens of Sparwood, to seek their ideas and solutions to things that they would like to see in Sparwood.”
He said they must be forward thinking so they can set Sparwood up for a positive path in the future.
“I look forward to working with council and staff over the next four years, with what will be a busy and ambitious agenda.”
“Now, let’s get to work.”
Fernie’s next regular council meeting will be held on Nov. 14, with Sparwood’s scheduled for Nov. 15.