There’s a new mayor in Lake Cowichan.
In a tight three-way race, Rod Peters came out the winner, but none of the candidates were political neophytes. While he’s new to the mayor’s chair, Peters has previously served as a councillor. He was the obvious voice for change, however, as Bob Day was a sitting councillor and Ross Forrest the incumbent.
At the council table voters cast their ballots for the status quo, with incumbents taking three of the four seats and the lone new face taking Bob Day’s old seat a former councillor herself, Kristine Sandhu.
So will there be huge changes in the offing for the town? It seems rather unlikely with so many of the same voices at the table.
Further, shortly after his victory, Peters talked a bit about a couple of his priorities, and while he certainly has some new ideas about how to address them, the priorities themselves will not be unfamiliar to town residents. One is doing something about the municipal hall, where Peters has his sights set on relocation rather than renovation, and the other is addressing the look and functionality of the southern entrance to the town.
Many of the same challenges will face this new council that the old one faced: economic development, beautification, derelict buildings, seniors care in the community, health care in the community, affordability, the opioid crisis, and the realities of climate change just to name a few. None of these issues are something that can be solved definitively with one good idea, they take one-foot-in-front-of-the-other work. They take a series of decisions and community consultation.
We do have every confidence that the councillors who were elected on Saturday will do their utmost for the community. Every single one of them clearly cares about the future of Lake Cowichan. It’s not a job with a big salary and a fat pension to ride out until retirement. It takes hard work, long hours and the willingness to take a lot of flak from people, since you’re never going to be able to please everyone, all of the time. Some of the decisions to be made will be hard, and must balance competing interests.
Tim McGonigle, Lorna Vomacka, Carolyne Austin and Sandhu will take on that challenge, led by Rod Peters as the Town of Lake Cowichan approaches its 75th anniversary. Good luck everyone. And thank you to Ross Forrest and Bob Day for their long and dedicated service.