As the town of Sidney embarks on a new era of governance, many of the town’s residents were in attendance Monday evening as a new mayor and council were sworn in for another four-year term.
It was standing room only and overflow lined the halls outside council chambers as a new mayor and four new councillors (as well as one incumbent) each pledged their service to provincial court judge Carmen Rogers.
Town Crier Kenny Podmore signalled the start of the inaugural meeting with the sound of his bell to introduce new Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith, followed by five councillors: Sara Duncan; Scott Garnett; Terri O’Keefe; Chad Rintoul and Peter Wainwright. Barbara Fallot was unable to attend due to illness and will be sworn in at a later date.
Only two of the new council’s seats will be filled with incumbents – Fallot, who will begin her second term and Wainwright, who will begin his seventh.
— Peninsula News (@PeninsulaNews) November 6, 2018
McNeil-Smith, a local business owner, won the mayoral seat in a victory that saw him topple former mayor Steve Price 3,740 votes to Price’s 929 in a town of roughly 12,000 people.
In his inaugural address to a room brimming with Sidney residents, McNeil-Smith thanked Price and the previous council as well as those citizens who served on various committees alongside 80 town staff and 30 firefighters. “Your service is appreciated,” he said.
Having lived in Sidney with his wife and daughter since 2001, the mayor called his new role “an honour.”
“For a long time I thought of our community in terms of people,” McNeil-Smith said. “In recent years I have found a more meaningful idea of community and that is – what is our sense of place?”
A strong identity and character connected with collective values is what makes Sidney unique, and is what its residents are so proud of, he added.
Going forward, McNeil-Smith cited the challenges before council including rapidly growing development, a rework of the Official Community Plan and finishing the West Sidney Local Area Plan among others.
“I’m impressed with how diverse our backgrounds are in Sidney,” he said, speaking of his colleagues at the council table. “Along with the range of experience many of us bring from the other places we have lived, I look forward to working with you all over the next four years.”