A festive ceremony, trimmed with all the fixings, ushered in Coldstream’s new council Monday.
Mayor Jim Garlick was sworn back into office, alongside councillors Maria Besso, Pat Cochrane, Doug Dirk, Richard Enns, Gyula Kiss and Peter McClean.
With the exception of McClean, all those on council, including the mayor, are returning to office after being re-elected Nov. 19.
McClean is back on council after serving from 1993 to 2005 and then taking two terms away from office.
“Great to see Peter engaged here again in local politics,” said Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA, while congratulating each of the councillors and mayor. “You did a great job before and I’m sure you will do a great job again.”
Family and friends packed the municipal chambers to support the new council for its inaugural meeting.
Among them was Garlick’s old school buddy, Supreme Court of B.C. Justice Al Betton, who presided over the ceremony and swore in the mayor and each of the councillors.
Garlick and Betton, both long-time Coldstream residents, actually went to kindergarten, elementary school, high school and university together.
The inaugural meeting also included the mayor’s appointments.
Dirk will remain as the Regional District of North Okanagan director, while Garlick will serve as alternate director.
At the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee, Garlick and Kiss will serve as regular members with their respective alternate members being councillors Dirk and Besso.
In terms of Coldstream committees like the environmental and Kalavista, Garlick has some structural changes in mind.
He would like to see the committees transform into more of a task force, meeting when needed as issues arise, versus routinely. And he would like to see those groups comprised of solely public individuals who can present their concerns to council.
“We need to find a way to keep the public engaged,” said Garlick, who is also keen on making it as unintimidating as possible for individuals wanting to raise their concerns at council meetings.