Jim Garlick never imagined himself as a politician, let alone the mayor of his community.
But six years at the helm, plus another three on council, and Garlick is still raring to go.
The two-time Coldstream mayor is seeking a third term (with this one being four years) with the gavel.
“You have to be in it for the long haul if you really want to make a difference,” said Garlick, a husband, father of two and Clarence Fulton teacher, who has a background in forestry engineering and geophysics.
“I thought I’d never be a teacher, and I thought I’d never be a mayor. I liked Jacques Cousteau when I was a kid.”
Like Cousteau’s depth of knowledge of the deep sea, Garlick says he is a good candidate for the position due to his own knowledge of the inner workings of municipal government (he has nine years of experience).
“Our council has a good understanding and I’m encouraging my councillors to run again.”
Garlick would like to continue with the progress made so far in areas such as parks management, the sports facility which is expected to be completed in spring, water, OCP housekeeping, some regional land acquisitions and a contentious issue in Lavington, which has raised some additional concerns to be addressed.
The proposed wood pellet plant in Lavington has left some area residents fuming about perceived health impacts from particulate matter, especially due to the fact that the site is within 300 metres of an elementary school.
“It’s really poorly understood,” said Garlick, not just of the plant, but council’s role in the process.
Council approved the zoning (in a close vote) but has put conditions in that the air quality be monitored and that it will not be supported if provincial air quality targets aren’t met.
“We have put these safeguards in place,” he said adding that moving the process along allows the Ministry of Environment experts to properly investigate the concerns raised.
If constructed, the plant would generate approximately 20 full-time positions, plus additional jobs through construction and spinoffs and benefits for the adjacent Tolko planer mill.
“What people have to realize is we’re not going to get another glass plant dropped on our laps,” said Garlick, who says the district needs to look at bringing in smaller numbers of jobs at a time.
The plant would also clean up the current sawdust stockpile, which has its own PM concerns, and would offer potential for additional improvements.
Although emotional for many, the pellet plant debate has sparked a wider concern for regional air quality and efforts for improvement are being looked at.
“It’s important to see the positives,” said Garlick, who sees himself as a pragmatic socialist.
Garlick says he is also the type of person who takes pride in completing tasks, no matter how big or small.
“I like to do things myself. I don’t take my car to a mechanic, I built my own house and I didn’t hire a carpenter. There’s a satisfaction in it.”