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Historic moment: Coldstream’s first female mayor sworn in

Vernon and Coldstream councils officially sworn in to office Monday, Nov. 7
Coldstream’s first-ever woman mayor, Ruth Hoyte, takes her seat between chief administrative officer Trevor Seibel (left) and corporate officer Keri-Ann Austin after being officially sworn in Monday, Nov. 7. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Looking resplendent in a red dress with black trim, red hair tie and red heels, Ruth Hoyte placed her hand upon the Bible, looked at Justice Jeremy Guild – decked out in his black-and-red robe – and made history.

Hoyte was officially sworn in by Guild Monday, Nov. 7, as the first female mayor of the District of Coldstream.

After Guild swore in the rest of council, Hoyte conducted her first address to the packed gallery, which included her family.

“I’m very excited to be here,” she said. “I know we have a fantastic staff here at the district. I’m looking around the table and I see a very diverse, very dynamic council, and I’m looking forward to working with you.”

Sworn in as councillors were newcomers Jeremy Levy and Simone Runyan, who placed two feathers upon the Bible to acknowledge the district being in the unceded territory of the Syilx, and incumbents Stephanie Hoffman, Pat Cochrane and Doug Dirk, who gave the room a chuckle with his declaration after signing his oath of office.

“I hope it’s only under these circumstances that I ever appear in front of you,” said Dirk to the Supreme Court justice, who laughed.

The man Hoyte replaces as Coldstream mayor, Jim Garlick, was also sworn in to a new position as a councillor.

Former councillor Richard Enns was among those in the gallery to watch the new council sworn in.

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our previous council,” said Hoyte. “Coun. Enns is in attendance. Thanks for being the guy beside me. And thanks to Coun. (Glen) Taylor, who is not here tonight. I always appreciated his considerate and thoughtful comments.”

Hoyte said Enns and Taylor will be further honoured at the first regular meeting of the new council Nov. 14.

In her address, Hoyte said she liked the fact that a number of projects have been completed and some are in progress.

“We’re going to finish them and we’re going to move on to some really great things,” she said. “I’d like to thank all the residents who submitted queries and answers to some of the community surveys. We will be basing a lot of our plans on those, and I look forward to engaging the residents as a whole.”

Over at Vernon City Hall, six of seven incumbents and the new ‘Guy’ were being sworn in by Justice Richard Hewson.

Mayor Victor Cumming was joined by incumbents Kari Gares, Teresa Durning, Akbal Mund, Brian Quiring and Kelly Fehr, and newly elected councillor Brian Guy – all dazzling wearing their finery – in front of a large gallery.

“There have been significant successes in the last four years, and continuing to make Vernon a great place to live, work, and play for all,” said Cumming in his address to council. “Including maintaining infrastructure systems, organics diversion, upgrading parks, active transportation systems, the road systems, the intersections…”

Cumming said upcoming challenges council will face are known already.

“The Greater Vernon Cultural Centre, Kin Race Track Athletic Park, the newly approved Active Living Centre, completing the Grey Canal Trail, climate actions for adaptation and mitigation,” he said. “Even the 2022 B.C. Winter Games in 2023. Updating our official community plan, and many more.”

Both mayors made committee appointments for their respective councils Monday.

Each council gets down to business with its first regular meetings Nov. 14.

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The new Vernon council gathers for its first official photo after being sworn in at a special ceremony Monday, Nov. 7. From left are councillors Brian Guy, Kelly Fehr, Teresa Durning, Mayor Victor Cumming, Kari Gares, Akbal Mund and Brian Quiring. (Contributed)

Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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