As Mayor Chris Pieper jokingly pointed out, John Trainor’s hair was browner and fuller when he started on Armstrong city council 18 years ago.
But he also had his trademark moustache.
After making and seconding every motion on Monday’s busy agenda, and completing their last bits of business, councillors Trainor and Kelly Rowe said their goodbyes to their colleagues.
Trainor stepped down to spend more time with family, while Rowe successfully ran the North Okanagan Shuswap School District board.
“Many thanks to you, John,” said Pieper. “You’ve been on every committee, done everything and it’s been an absolute pleasure. You helped keep our views focused and challenged, and everybody appreciates that. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Coun. Ron (Sully) O’Sullivan, who, along with incumbents Paul Britton and Shirley Fowler retained their seats in the Nov. 15 election, sat beside Trainor in chambers for four terms.
“John’s been a godsend to a lot of us,” said O’Sullivan. “He calls a spade a spade.”
Trainor called serving the city “a privilege.”
“It’s all about good leadership,” he said. “Back when I started, I came into a situation where there was really good leadership around the table. If you have good leadership, you can learn along the way; learn respect and decision making. If you don’t have it, it’s hard to make contributions.
“For the new guys coming in, it will be seamless because there’s such a good crew here already.”
Rowe served two terms as a councillor and drew praise from her colleagues for “being a breath of fresh air.”
“Kelly keeps things jovial, she’ll rock the school board and we’ll be well represented in Armstrong and in Spallumcheen at the (school) board level,” said Coun. Paul Britton, who occupies the seat next to Britton.
Rowe playfully drew the ire of Mayor Pieper for “not keeping Britton in line during meetings.”
She sincerely thanked her council mates and city staff for being helpful in mentoring her and allowing her to learn how to do the job as a councillor.
“I tried to do a good job in this seat and I’ve enjoyed it very, very much,” said Rowe. “I’ve created good relationships and that won’t change as a school board trustee. I want to thank everyone for all you’ve done for me.”
The city had three openings on council after Ryan Nitchie left in the summer for employment interests in the Shuswap, and with Trainor and Rowe not seeking re-election. Voters elected Steven Drapala, Lance McGregor and Linda Werner to fill those seats.
“The loss of John, Kelly and Ryan is huge, it’s the end of an era,” said Coun. Shirley Fowler. “It’s going to be a big loss for our community. But we’ve got some great new minds coming in to attempt to fill those spots. It’ll be a big change.”