Patrick Nicol’s absence continues to dominate Vernon city hall.
At Monday’s council meeting, the long time councillor’s Jan. 15 death was symbolized by flowers and the name plaque signifying his traditional seat shifting to the chair generally held by Mayor Rob Sawatzky.
“The only seat he hasn’t had is the mayor’s seat,” said Sawatzky of Nicol’s 22 years as a councillor, one of the longest terms for any civic politician in the province.
“So we thought it was respectful to give him the seat for the day.”
This was the second meeting for council since Nicol’s death from cancer, but the pain is still evident for his colleagues.
“It’s a new era,” said Sawatzky.
During a presentation to council on social issues, Annette Sharkey, with Partners in Action, reflected on her dealings with Nicol.
“He was such a huge supporter,” she said.
“He believed in the people who are in the social sector.”
On Monday, council voted unanimously not to hold a byelection to fill Nicol’s vacant seat.
“We have more than enough sitting city councillors to function,” said Sawatzky of the existing six members of council and that quorum to hold a meeting is four.
Sawatzky says a byelection would have been costly and anyone who was elected would only be in office for less than six months until November’s civic election.
Coun. Juliette Cunningham was also appointed to take over Nicol’s position as a city representative at the Regional District of North Okanagan.
Also, more details have been announced about Nicol’s memorial service.
Residents will be able to view the service Feb. 3 via video at Kal Tire Place and the Schubert Centre.The memorial service takes place at 2 p.m. at Trinity United Church.
“We’re trying to make it a lot easier for people to attend so they don’t have to fit into Trinity United,” said Sawatzky.