As he formally assumed the mayor’s chair Tuesday, Walt Cobb said many people are looking forward to the next four years.
“There are great expectations out there so we as a council had better perform,” Cobb said as he looked around the council table and out into the city hall chamber gallery, where around 100 people had gathered to witness the officially swearing in of the new council.
Joining Cobb on council are Craig Smith, Jason Ryll, Laurie Walters, Sue Zacharias, Scott Nelson and Ivan Bonnell. Both Bonnell and Nelson have also served as mayors in years past.
Cobb said bringing the community back together is forefront and with assistance from outgoing Mayor Kerry Cook and Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett, a group has been formed to tackle diversification, rebuilding and recovery, to address issues such as the pine beetle epidemic and the Mount Polley Mine tailings breach.
Representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, the United Steelworkers, Cariboo-Chilcotin-Coast Tourism Association, city council, the Business Improvement Area (BIA) and Cobb make up the committee.
“We have a lot to offer in tourism, agriculture and forestry and we must be bold in broadcasting and promoting our strengths,” Cobb said.
Cobb announced council appointments for committees and said the biggest change he’s made so far is making the executive committee fall directly within the mayor’s office.
The executive committee will be responsible for economic development, First Nations relations, policing and personnel.
Joining Cobb on the committee will be councillors Scott Nelson and Jason Ryll.
“As I stated in my campaign we will be looking for a new delivery model for economic development and that is a work in progress,” Cobb said.
“We don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but we need to find something that will work for us.”
The mayor will represent the city at the Cariboo Regional District, Northern Development Initiative Trust and Caribboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Committee boards, he confirmed.
Eager to re-establish some volunteer committees in order to determine what the public feels should, could or may take place in Williams Lake, Cobb said ideas from those committees can then become part of the city’s integrated community plan already in place.
Council will advertise for volunteers to join the various committees in the New Year.
“I don’t plan on letting you down and I await your input,” Cobb said as he read out his phone number, welcoming anyone to contact him.
Outgoing Mayor Kerry Cook presented Cobb with the chain of office. On behalf of the city, Cobb then presented a gift to Cook in appreciation for her work for the city as mayor.
Coun. Laurie Walters presented to outgoing Coun. Geoff Bourdon while Coun. Sue Zacharias presented to outgoing Coun. Danica Hughes and Coun. Ivan Bonnell to outgoing Coun. Surinderpal Rathor.