Last Sunday, November 9, I asked Mayoral Candidates Mark McKee, Michael Brooks-Hill and David Raven to share their vision for Revelstoke with Current readers. McKee and Brooks-Hill responded. Here is what they had to say…
Your priorities deserve real attention and consideration
We all live in Revelstoke because we love it here. People come to visit and then find a way to make it their home. Young families come and stay by choice because they recognize that it is an extraordinary community. But we did not become this great city by coincidence or all at once. We built this city one successful project at a time and I believe we can model our future on the successes of the past.
Some time ago I was part of the group that made Revelstoke look like it does now. We revitalized our downtown buildings, had trees planted along the streets, had planters and brick paving stones installed, got the band shell up, put in the bear statues and made Grizzly Plaza into our town square.
Later, I worked very hard for this city in my six years as mayor from 2003-2008. I promised this community in 2002 that, if elected, I would get Mt. McKenzie sold for development. When the voters chose me for their mayor, I rolled up my sleeves and delivered what I promised. For decades, there had been varying degrees of hope and speculation, but today we have Revelstoke Mountain Resort in our back yard. I was fortunate to work with great colleagues in making this happen. I am proud to have been a part of making the dream of RMR a reality, because it’s what the voters asked for when they elected me.
I was also forthcoming about my goal to build a world-class indoor aquatic centre. We asked the public via referendum if they were willing to undertake debt, and a tax increase as a result of this project. The people said yes. Revelstoke acquired $2 million in grant monies that went toward this project and it is now insured for $17 million. If we had waited, the expense for this project may have been too high and the grants would not be available for us to build it today.
We now have more options for local placement for our elderly family members. The people who built our town had few choices for their retirement living. Their wellbeing was an important community issue that Council, working with IHA, addressed during my term. The Mt Cartier Court “care cottages” opened and Moberly Manor was expanded. Residents began to occupy the new rooms in 2006 and 2007.
It’s amenities like these that make our city a desirable place to visit, and to live. I helped create our Railway Museum, Revelstoke Community Forest Corporation, and the Glacier Challenge by working with others towards a common goal. I have learned a lot by running a long term, successful business. I also learned a lot during my nine years as City Councillor and, in turn, I was able to effectively contribute my time and efforts to all of these projects. I know what it takes to get things done. I know what the job of mayor actually entails.
In the next four years, I would do the same thing that I did the last time I was mayor. I would take your priorities and make them the priorities for Council. I strongly believe that our taxpayers must have a say in the direction we are heading and be part of the process to get us there.
We need to do more than just talk about the issues. It is crucial that they be resolved. I want results. The residents of the Big Eddy will be our most important consultants as we address their need for a good water system. There was resounding support and feedback on my Facebook page (Mark McKee for Mayor of Revelstoke) when discussing the need to have the pool at Farwell Park reopened or reinvented. I’ve met with the head of public works and am committed to seeing the issues at the sewage treatment plant resolved. As your mayor, I would use the next four years to fix these problems and to work on issues that are important to you, issues such as food security, continued economic development and affordable housing.
Your vote is important to me. We have our families and our livelihoods invested in this community. I am progressive and forward-thinking and I’m asking for your support in allowing me to continue serving this community as your next mayor.
Hoping for a happy future
Hello Revelstoke. My vision for the future is really quite simple. I have no grandiose plans to transform the town into something we are not. In many ways, I am advocating a return to what, as I understand it, we were in the past. I would like to see spending reigned in, the debt levels decreased, and the cash reserves increased. In 1999, the City debt was 0. I think it’s time that we began to return to that place of financial responsibility, and after 4 years, I hope that I will have achieved that goal.
The other major goal I have is for a much more open, transparent, honest and accountable City Hall. Having knocked on about 1,000 doors now, this is certainly the other major issue that people have been pushing for. To do this, I would like to see Council pass a communications policy that ensures not only that all complaints, ideas, and suggestions are received, but also that they can be tracked. In order to do this, we would need to institute an open-government platform, which would be both web and paper based to ensure that everyone had access to it. In this way, we could engage citizens in the decision making process, but also show that city hall was being held accountable. As mayor, I would strive to see that City staff were also included in this, so that their feedback on policy and directions was also being received. I think that in implementing this, we would create a lot of efficiencies, as well as improving the culture of City Hall. By making the city a friendlier place to work, this in turn would lead to a friendlier experience for citizens when they come to get a permit, make a suggestion or try to find some information.
I hope that in 4 years, people will be happy that they put their trust in me, and that I have fulfilled that trust. That people say I have been honest, and continued to not answer questions like a politician. There will be no back room deals, nor decisions made simply on my own without consultation with Council and the community. I see a town that is more affordable, and one with a Council that sticks up for everyone in the community. I would hope to see a town that has successfully lobbied against the logging in our prime recreation areas. One with a diverse and thriving economy, and one which is accepting of everyone without regard to their gender, race or sexual orientation.
This is the Revelstoke that I would like to see in the future. A wonderful place to live, raise a family, and to retire in. A real community that feels involved in its democratic processes. A city with a bright future, a friendly City Hall, and a well-liked mayor. If you share this vision, please vote for me, Michael Brooks-Hill on November 15. Thank you for taking the time to read this and get informed. Now, go out and vote!