The weekend has passed, the votes were tallied and Mayor Lawrence Chernoff is back in office for another term.
Along with his return, five of six council chairs remain unchanged and Mayor Chernoff could not be happier with how things turned out.
“To me this really shows great confidence in the community for council and what the council has done over the past three years,” said Mayor Chernoff. “If you look across the province, it’s a huge anomaly to see what we have in Castlegar, with so many councils gone across the board.”
Mayor Chernoff believes having council remain nearly unchanged is very important because now they can bring newcomer Bruno Tassone up to speed and continue working without needing to restart.
Of course the work is always ongoing for Mayor Chernoff.
“Right away, my biggest challenge is having to do the committee structure for the councillors, and that’s a big task and an important one.”
“Trying to fit all the councillors into so many committees is time consuming and it has to be done by the first of December, so I have a deadline,” the Mayor said.
Going in to the new year council’s collective minds are set on strategic planning.
“We need to sit down and decide on a direction and a future for the next four years,” Chernoff commented.
“Of course, infrastructure is always a big part of this. We deal with sewer and water on a regular basis as they are core subjects, but we still have to sit down and see everyone’s input and decide the direction for the coming years based on those conversations.”
On the topic of work, Chernoff offered some words on the status of the CUPE 2262 strike.
“It’s a negotiation and we’re doing what we can with it. Hopefully it will come to a resolve quickly but one never knows. When labour negotiations take place that’s just part and parcel. We live with it and we deal with it, we’re persistent about it and we’ll try to get it resolved as quickly as possible.”
Along with resolving the CUPE strike, Mayor Chernoff also hopes to reduce criticism regarding council’s perceived lack of communication with the public.
“We have a website, we have regular meetings, Facebook, twitter, all of that. We put our meetings and hearings out there, whether it’s in the paper or the radio it is out there for the people,” Chernoff said.
“But the norm is, come meeting time nobody is there. We have four or five people that come on a regular basis, but that’s it.”
Mayor Chernoff continued to say that unless there is a big event or controversy, council just doesn’t see many people attending.
Of course he would love to see more people showing up and taking part and said, “If anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them.”
Putting aside work and outstanding issues, Chernoff is very grateful and honoured to be elected for yet another term.
“I have a huge thank-you for the community for supporting me for the next four years. It’s always been a privilege and an honour to serve the community and I do it with passion. We received overwhelming support from the community to keep doing the things we are doing and we will continue to make Castlegar the best place to live.”