The inaugural meeting of city council was as much about welcoming in the new as it was about paying tribute and giving thanks to the departing.
Sitting with her council for one last time before the swearing in of the new mayor and council, Mayor Nancy Cooper began the Nov. 5 meeting by putting the spotlight on outgoing Coun. Ken Jamieson.
Jamieson’s parting words began with a couple of school photos from 1976 displayed overhead, one of a team with a young Alan Harrison onboard – the second including a younger version of himself.
“As you can see, Alan, even in 1976, assembled a good team,” said Jamieson of the mayor-elect. “So I’m confident he’s going into this term with a good team and there’s part of me that wishes I was part of it.”
Jamieson proceeded to thank the residents of Salmon Arm for the privilege of serving three consecutive terms in addition to a term in 1987/88. He thanked School District #83 for its ongoing support, as well as Cooper and his fellow councillors.
“I tried my best to build and maintain bridges with each of you, and I wanted to make sure our relationships were genuine and respectful, and I sincerely hope you felt that vibe from me,” said Jamieson. “You patiently listened to my filibusters and very bad jokes. Your support of me and this community will forever be appreciated.”
Lastly, Jamieson thanked his wife and family, the reasons for which he chose to retire from the school district and not seek re-election.
“Family and friends are the true reason I chose not to run again. I don’t want to miss out,” he said.
Jack Bowers then took the podium to offer a tribute to Jamieson’s family and all they contributed to the growth and betterment of Salmon Arm.
Reluctant to give Jamieson the last word, Harrison provided a tribute on behalf of council.
“Ken is a man of integrity, he has a very strong value system,” Harrison began. “Ken consistently makes decisions based on those values and because of this consistency, Ken has earned the respect of both council and the citizens of Salmon Arm across the spectrum.
“Ken is a kind and caring person, no matter the issue, regardless of who he was addressing, Ken treats others with sensitivity and empathy.”
Harrison credited Jamieson for his perseverance on the preservation of agricultural land and his independent decision making.
“Thank you on behalf of council for your years of dedication to our city. We will miss you at this table,” said Harrison.
The spotlight then turned back to Cooper, who took time to talk of the accomplishments made by the city over recent years, of how the city has grown and is growing in size and in its relationships with neighbouring First Nations.
“We did sign a communications agreement with them just recently and to me that was a huge step forward, and I really see us working with our neighbours, our First Nations neighbours, as we move ahead,” said Cooper.
Cooper expressed gratitude for her family, the work done by the local fire department, the RCMP and city staff. She also tipped her hat to council, and their dedication to the community.
“You’ve been very patient with me, I’m not always the easiest person…,” laughed Cooper. “I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that… But I really appreciate them – they all work really hard and they always have Salmon Arm’s best interest at heart.”
And with that, Cooper proceeded to present each of the councillors – Team Salmon Arm – with baseball-themed certificates of appreciation, along with the passing of the mayor’s gavel to Harrison.
Neskonlith Coun. Louis Thomas thanked Cooper, and council, for the inroads made in recent years.
“I think this is the first time we’ve been recognized, under your tenure, as being part of the community, and I think our people really appreciated that,” said Thomas. “You’ve done a terrific job and we’ve had some hiccups along the way, that would have been the SmartCenters. But we’ve learned to get past that and I think it’s all about our community and our people in it and we want the best for our people.”
On behalf of council, Louise Wallace Richmond provided the evening’s closing tribute to the outgoing mayor.
“You have always said that being the mayor of Salmon Arm is the best job in the world, and I believe you,” said Coun. Wallace Richmond. “But just because it’s the best job in the world doesn’t mean it’s always the easiest one. And we are grateful to you and all of the sacrifices you have made to serve our community.
“Now it’s difficult to sum up all of those years of service in a single statement but I kept coming back to one word, and that one word is noble. You have always stood up for Salmon Arm, empowered community members to do their best, face adversity with bravery and success with grace, and I really admire you for it.”