After their first meeting as a council, Warfield’s newly elected politicians are adjusting and learning their new roles, says Mayor Diane Langman.
Langman and councillors Raymond Masleck and Bradley Jansen were voted into their positions in the Feb. 25 byelection. So it was back to business as usual for the five-member group’s inaugural meeting on Tuesday. And there was plenty of business to go through – only the basics, such as cheque signing, could could be attended to by a two-quorum council after three council seats were left open in late December.
“Our first council meet went really well,” Langman told the Trail Times. “There were a lot of housekeeping issues and some items that had been deferred to this meeting that we needed to deal with. But we are back to business as usual for Warfield … thankfully, we have a very supportive, understanding team.”
The initial meeting included a Committee of the Whole prior to council, which allowed each elected official time to review what would come next -one of Langman’s first duties was to assign each member specific responsibilities (portfolios).
“The new council members had orientation packages to read over along with their agenda packages,” she explained. “So their workload was definitely quite a bit higher as they came up to speed with the rest of council. But they held their own, had great suggestions, ideas and questions, which is refreshing.”
Prior to portfolio assignment, Langman collaborated with the four councillors to discuss their interests.
“I met with each individual councillor to find out where their interests and expertise were, then made the assignments from there,” she added. “It’s great that we have a council who vary in their backgrounds and knowledge.”
Coun. Shane Ferraro remained appointee to the United Way, Restorative Justice, and was assigned to the Trail Health and Environment Committee. Alongside various committees, Langman, like other community mayors, was voted director to the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) with Coun. Arlene Parkinson as alternative director. Coun. Jansen will look after general government services, recreation and the volunteer fire department. Coun. Masleck was assigned to the budget, infrastructure and labour relations, in addition to other committees including the LCCDTS (Lower Columbia Community Development Team Society).
“After being appointed to the RDKB by Warfield council, learning the roles and responsibilities at the regional level is going to be my main focus for right now,” Langman said. “I want to learn where Warfield sits at the table, how the regional district functions, and how I can best represent our community.”
There are a few projects that council is already moving forward with, such as the Annable PVR (Pressure Reducing Valve) as Warfield did receive a $222,000 grant for respective repairs.
“We are also wanting to do a Strategic Planning Session as we not only have a new council but we also have some new staff as well,” Langman noted. ‘This is a great opportunity to realign and do some team building at the same time.”
Another current matter council agreed to, was to keep Lower Montcalm Road closed indefinitely. The popular back road was closed to traffic and pedestrians earlier this month after an adjacent bank sloughed and caused extensive repairs to an Annable water line.
“At our council meeting last night (Tuesday) we made the decision to keep the road temporarily closed as we wait for further reporting from the geotech involved,” Langman confirmed. “Council has made a motion to have a feasibility study done as to the cost effectiveness of returning this to a road for vehicle traffic or whether to reopen it as a walking trail,” she concluded. “Those are answers that we need to have before making any permanent decision. When we do have those answers, we would like to have a public meeting to inform residents of the findings and get some public input.”