New Mayor, Council sworn in at Inaugural Meeting
In front of a standing room only crowd inside Council Chambers, the new City of Williams Lake Mayor and Council took their oaths of office during the November 1, 2022 Inaugural Council Meeting.
Led into Chambers by bhangra drumming and bagpipes, Mayor Surinderpal Rathor, along with new Councillors Michael Moses, Joan Flaspohler, Angie Delainey and Jazmyn Lyons, and returning Councillors Sheila Boehm and Scott Nelson, were welcomed by a traditional drumming ceremony and words of congratulations and encouragement from Williams Lake First Nation Chief Willie Sellars and Esk'etemc Chief Fred Robbins, along with WLFN and Esk'etemc Council members, elders and community members.
Following a swearing in ceremony presided over by Judge Linda Thomas, Mayor Rathor and Council addressed the community for the first time.
Rathor thanked outgoing Mayor Walt Cobb and Council members Jason Ryll, Craig Smith, Marnie Brenner and Ivan Bonnell for sharing their time and talent to improve the community over the years.
He said working together with neighbouring Indigenous communities to move the community forward in a positive way will be among Council's top priorities.
"I will act in the best interest of the entire community for present and future to find ways that work for each and every one of us," Rathor said.
He noted new investment opportunities, community safety and affordable housing are some of the top issues he'd like to address during his term.
He also encouraged community members to get involved through volunteering or joining a local community organization.
Coun. Boehm said she will continue to draw on what she's learned from previous Council members while striving to be a voice for change.
"We have such a diverse group and great leadership ... I'm looking forward to a lot getting done, and it's such a privilege to be reelected again," she said.
Coun. Delainey thanked everyone who participated in the election and the community for putting its trust in her to represent them.
"I will practice good governance, show up prepared and be available to you," she said.
Coun. Flaspohler also thanked the community for its support and said she's confident the new Mayor and Council will be conducive to a better Williams Lake.
She said trust, transparency and communication with residents will be key among Mayor and Council.
"This Council will look at the big picture," she said. "We will take this municipality to a bigger and better place."
She cited livability, partnerships and fostering relationships with City staff as top priorities.
Coun. Lyons said it felt incredible to be sitting at the Council table and added she is grateful for the opportunity.
"The diversity and representation isn't just incredible, it's also incredibly hopeful," she said.
"It's a great sign, and I'm really excited to see where this is all going to go.
"I think if we work together as a community then we have a strong and healthy community, a happy one and an incredibly lucky one. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what's going to happen in the next four years."
Coun. Moses thanked those in attendance, as well as the previous Council for its good work for the community.
"I'm proud and honoured to be a part of this team of Mayor, Council and City staff," Moses said. "And to provide Indigenous representation on our City Council."
Moses said he hopes to bring a better understanding of Indigenous views, needs and aspirations to Council over the next four years, and said reconciliation, climate action and mental health and safety are among his top priorities.
"I encourage everyone to pay close attention over the next four years ... to attend meetings and to hold us accountable," he said. "We are here to represent you, and I'm proud and honoured to represent you."
Coun. Nelson said it's an honour to be reelected and thanked Judge Thomas, WLFN Chief Sellars and Esk'etemc Chief Robbins, elders, WLFN and Esk'etemc Council members and WLFN and Esk'etemc community members for attending, and said "big changes ... bold changes" are ahead to move the community forward.
Council appointments for 2022/23 announced at Inaugural Meeting
Mayor Rathor's appointments to committees, ad hoc/select committees and community committees for the 2022/23 term were endorsed by Council and appointments to the City's standing committees were also received by Council for information. Council appointments are set on an annual basis during the first Council meeting held each December, and in November in the year of an election.
The following Council appointments for 2023 were endorsed:
Community Services: Councillors Moses (chair), Nelson and Delainey.
General Governance: Councillors Flaspohler (chair), Lyons and Moses.
Public Works: Councillors Lyons (chair), Boehm and Delainey.
Executive Committee: Mayor Rathor and Councillors Flaspohler and Moses.
Cariboo Regional District appointments for 2022/23
Mayor Rathor was appointed to the Cariboo Regional District as the City's Director for 2022/23, while Coun. Nelson was appointed as the City's Alternate Director.
NDIT and MIABC appointments for 2022/23 approved
Appointments to the Northern Development Initiative Trust Regional Advisory Board and Municipal Insurance Association of BC Board were made during the Inaugural Council Meeting November 1.
Coun. Boehm was appointed to the NDIT Regional Advisory Board as the City's director for 2022/23 and Coun. Moses was appointed the City's alternate director.
MIABC appointments went to Coun. Nelson as the City's delegate to the MIABC, while Councillors Flaspohler and Boehm were appointed as first and second alternates, respectively.
Council proclaims January 2, 2023 as Wrestling Day in Williams Lake
January 2, 2023 was proclaimed as 'Wrestling Day' in the City of Williams Lake by Mayor and Council Tuesday night.
Mayor Rathor said he's proud to carry on the tradition of the holiday, and noted it's something Williams Lake is known for throughout Canada.