Alex Browne photo Coun. Helen Fathers, who topped the polls as an incumbent independent councillor candidate, is sworn in.

New White Rock mayor promises ‘an open city hall’

Upbeat inaugural meeting of council receives cheers, applause

In what often seemed more like an upbeat community celebration than a formal ceremony, a new White Rock council was sworn in at its inaugural meeting Monday evening.

A capacity crowd of some 250 people at White Rock Community Centre applauded and cheered as new Mayor Darryl Walker and Couns. Helen Fathers, David Chesney, Erika Johanson, Scott Kristjanson, Anthony Manning and Christopher Trevelyan took the oath of office before provincial court Judge Edna Ritchie.

In the most marked departure from formality – also cheered by the crowd – Walker left the dais to offer a welcoming hug to Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell, who had arrived late after attending the City of Surrey’s inaugural meeting.

Later, indirectly referring to the checkered history of relations between the SFN and White Rock over the last council term – which included disputes over water supply and consultation over the rebuilding of Memorial Park – Walker vowed to rebuild a partnership with what he termed “our closest neighbour.”

“Our relationship has been stretched to the limit (in recent years) and for that, I apologize,” the mayor said.

Chappell welcomed the new council and also thanked all those who had run for office, before delivering a First Nation blessing and song.

In earlier remarks, Walker – who campaigned with Johanson, Kristjanson, Manning and Trevelyan under the Democracy Direct banner – said he had heard from many residents who “cared about their community, wanted to talk about their community, had ideas about their community.”

“I suggest to you that not only do you want to be part of it, we want you to be part of it,” he said, noting that while he and the members of the new council have only known each other for a few months, they have developed a mutual trust.

“The work we are going to do is going to be honest and truthful and we are going to go forward together… We don’t always agree on stuff, we don’t always agree on how we’re going to deal with stuff. But we will go forward and, with your help, make this community what a lot of people want it to be – to, as I say, kind of give it back.”

He also thanked former and unsuccessful candidates for their work campaigning to represent the community – “that’s what democracy is all about” – and said residents who candidates had met on the campaign trail had “one thing in common – they were frustrated.”

“They saw something they didn’t like, they wanted to change it, and they didn’t necessarily know how,” he said.

Walker criticized the way the city has handled communication with residents and businesses, and said that people had felt excluded from decisions.

“They wanted their city back. We gave them that promise and I believe they gave us the mandate we have because they trust us. We need to deliver, and you need to help us deliver. We need your help, we need you pushing from behind.”

He reiterated campaign promises of “balanced development and a review of the Official Community Plan,” plus “water that is safe and clean for everyone to drink,” transportation and “an open city hall.”

Walker received loud applause when he said that not only would council reinstate question period at regular council meetings, but that it would become “a question and answer period.”

Among those on hand to witness the inaugural meeting were former mayors Catherine Ferguson, Judy Forster, Hardy Staub and Gordie Hogg (now White Rock South Surrey MP), and former councillors Bill Lawrence and Ken Jones (also a former MLA).

Invocation for the new council was conducted by Rev. Georgina Harris of the Church of the Holy Trinity.

 

Alex Browne photo Darryl Walker takes his oath of office before Provincial Court Judge Edna Ritchie.

Just Posted

Man ‘seriously’ injured in crash after driving wrong way on Highway 17: Surrey RCMP

Police say the sedan hit a transport truck, then another car

Easter ‘eggstravaganza’ event planned for South Surrey

Event is to run from 12-3 p.m. at Dufferin Park (17355 2 Ave.).

Update: Surrey Mounties found missing man

Kuldip Sandhu, 41, had been reported missing

IHIT hunting in Edmonton for clues to 2017 Surrey homicide

Tanner Krupa, 19 was found dead in an alley in August 2017, in the 6900-block of 127A Street

Langley police seek new leads in hit and run cold case

Six years ago, someone struck a young woman with a car and drove off

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Rare ‘Snow Tower’ tree blooming in Vancouver city park

A plant rarely grown in Canada is now flowering at the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Man airlifted to hospital after apparent hunting incident in East Kootenay

The man was in stable condition when he was flown out of Fairmont Hot Springs to a Calgary hospital

Most Read