Citing a desire to avoid a byelection and see through some key village projects on the horizon, Jordan Sturdy announced Tuesday (Sept. 3) that he will continue to simultaneously serve as mayor of Pemberton and MLA for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky.
Sturdy made the announcement during the mayor’s report segment of Tuesday’s council meeting, the first he’d chaired in 10 weeks. The third-term mayor said he felt that changing the dynamic of the current council with the next general municipal elections in B.C. just over a year away could come “at a cost of continued progress” for the Village of Pemberton.
“I do not believe … that back-to-back elections a year apart are in the community’s interest,” said Sturdy. “I believe it would be highly disruptive.”
Sturdy took a one-month leave of absence in July as he sat in the Legislature and took time to decide if his new roles as MLA and parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure would preclude him from continuing to serve as mayor, a position he’s held since 2005. Tuesday’s council meeting was the first since his leave ended, providing his first opportunity to update council on his future plans.
“I think the people that we have at this table right now are cohesive, supportive and positive while not necessarily agreeing on all aspects of things,” he said.
Once the calendar flips to 2014, no byelection would be triggered if Sturdy was to resign from the mayor’s chair. However, he did not commit to an end date for his service in the position on Tuesday.
Sturdy listed more than a dozen ongoing village initiatives requiring council decisions over the next year that he is hopeful to be part of the process on, including the investigation into a Community Power Project, a future recreation facility currently up for discussion and the organization of municipal boundaries.
“I’d very much like to be part of advancing some of these projects at least to the point of electoral assent or (defeat),” he said. “Recognizing that I will certainly not be running in the 2014 municipal election, there’s a context around some of these issues that I believe needs to be articulated, perhaps to the point of, for 2014, the consideration of a referendum.”
Sturdy added that he is hopeful that by the next elections in November of next year, Pemberton voters “will be in a position to elect a leadership that best represents their goals and ambitions.” He said he does not intend to take any further leaves of absence to fulfill both of his elected roles.
New top cop addresses council
Council received a visit Tuesday from the new operations supervisor at the Pemberton RCMP detachment, who stressed his commitment to small-community policing and youth engagement after a couple of months on the job.
Cpl. Chris Dodds, who took over the position formerly held by Sgt. Eric Rochette in late June got a chance to formally introduce himself to council at Tuesday’s meeting. The 11-year veteran of the force is no stranger to the Spud Valley, as he’d been living in Pemberton while working as a watch commander out of the Whistler detachment for the previous 18 months.
“I’m glad to be here and we’re working on a few different things for the fall and in the future in terms of community policing and school liaison (work),” said Dodds.
“This is the type of policing I enjoy — small-town policing … it certainly has its challenges but it has its rewards as well.”
Council members told Dodds they were hopeful he would take the lead of some of his predecessors to ensure there was a regular RCMP presence at Pemberton schools. Dodds said that will be an area of focus for him as he looks to appoint at least one officer to each school to act as a liaison.
“Our presence in and around the high school is key, I believe, to making a connection with the kids so that we’re not just showing up there for negative reasons, we’re showing up there for positive reasons as well,” said Dodds.