Rossland’s new council will feature three new faces to compliment the three returning councillors. The three new members of council are Tim Thatcher, Cary Fisher and Jody Blomme. Returning to council for another three years are Kathy Wallace, Kathy Moore and Jill Spearn.
While Rossland had a voter turn out of 36.5 per cent, far less than three years ago in the last election, there weren’t any major issues dividing the community like there were at that time.
“There’s nothing that big that’s pitting one side of the community against the other where people really feel like their candidate is going to champion their cause,” said returning councillor Kathy Moore.
Moore said that in 2008 there was a big contentious issue which lead to a blip in the voter turnout.
She was surprised she finished in the lead with 694 votes.
“It’s kind of like being queen for a day,” she said. “Because once we get into council it doesn’t matter, everybody has one vote.”
Moore said the new council looks like a pretty well rounded group.
“We have a new team that I think is diverse, and that’s excellent,” Moore said.
She also said it was a nice vote of confidence in her, Spearn and Wallace, since they got the top three spots in the election.
Moore suspects this council will probably go smoother that it has in the past, but there is steep hill to climb for the new councillors.
“There’s always going to be little bumps when you get a new council going because there’s a learning curve,” she said. “I’d say overall it will be smoother.
Jill Spearn came in next with a tally of 660.
Spearn said she had initially hesitated at running for re-election, due to uncooperative aspects of council, but was happy to be re-elected with what she feels is a pretty strong mandate from the community.
“I was pleased to see that we’re going to have three new council members,” she said, adding that this will bring new energy and perhaps political ideas that haven’t come to the table before.
“I’m certainly very pleased that hopefully we’re going to have a functional council, with regards to Laurie Charlton not getting re-elected,” she said.
She said she was really proud of Rosslanders for going out and voting, even at 36.5 per cent. Though some people thought that was low, Spearn said she thought it wasn’t a bad turnout at all.
Spearn said the big issues will be the Columbia-Washington infrastructure project, carrying on with the sustainability plan, trying to negotiate with Teck to get the museum mine tours back up and running. She also stated that she would like to put more into the trail system because of the tourism numbers that are increasing because of it.
“It’s going to be interesting to see the dynamics and if we function better and we’re more efficient, which I would predict that we will be, and therefore get even more done,” she added.
As a new councillor Tim Thatcher is looking forward to the challenges of working for the citizens of Rossland. Thatcher said he had thought about running for a long time.
“This was just the year to do it,” he said.
Thatcher also wanted to thank all the other runners and the people who helped him out along the way.
“It’s going to be daunting, it’s going to be a steep learning curve. I think Rossland has elected a committed group of councillors that are willing to work together and try to move our city forward in a positive direction and I’m humbled to be a part of that team,” Thatcher said. “There’s going to be a lot of tough decisions that are going to effect the city for years to come.”
Thatcher came in with 605 votes.
Cary Fisher is another addition to council. He said that it was important to be realistic about what can be accomplished in terms of bringing in new people to Rossland.
“I think the job is to serve all Rosslanders, not just the people who voted for you, I think it kind of changes your perspective, making sure that you’re true to your ideals, but at the same time a have an open mind to other people’s ideas,” Fisher said.
“I’d really like to see an agenda motivated by moving Rossland forward and not so much grandstanding or fighting. Healthy debate is required by council in order to get an issue really dealt with. “
Fisher said it’s not exciting, but a priority of council is to make sure the core services are taken care of for the taxpayers. Water, sewer, sanitation.
“It’s not very glamorous, but that’s really what council’s all about.”
Fisher said the challenge for Rossland is to stem the tide of a declining population and try to get things moving in a positive direction, but says it would be totally unrealistic to expect that will be accomplished in the next three years.
“The fact that Rossland is situated in such a beautiful spot with tons of amenities for people that want to live here, I think there’s a big opportunity for Rossland and I don’t see that we really exploited our opportunity,” he said.
Fisher said that a lot of Rosslanders don’t want to see the town change, but that it has been changing for the worst in the past 20 years.
“I don’t really want to stand up in front of the public in the newspaper and say, “Yeah we’re going to add 500 people to the town in the next three years,” that’s unrealistic,” he said, adding that the next council may be able to lay the ground work to bring more people to Rossland.
Kathy Wallace received 651 votes to return to council and Jody Blomme rounds out the list of councillors with 471.
Laurie Charlton was the only councillor running that did not return to a seat on council. He received 278 votes.