There is no doubt that 2019 was a very busy year for me. I did have a summary of the highlights for me published locally over the Christmas holiday but I left out several things in the article. So, I am going to fill in some blanks with this blog post.
Tons of Regular Meetings
The average month for me includes anywhere from 10 to 15 regular meetings. This includes Town Council meetings and meetings related to the handful of committee appointments I have. I sit on many different local boards and also attend between 1 and 3 meetings out-of-town per month. They include SVPS (Similkameen Valley Planning Society), IHA SOS Division Health Board (Penticton) and Okanagan Regional Library Board (Kelowna).
The First Part Of The Year
I started 2019 with attendance in Kelowna for the LGLA (Local Government Leadership Academy) conference. That ran from January 23-25 and it included numerous workshops and meetings that were informative and involved. The next convention I attended was SILGA (Southern Interior Local Government Association). That was in Penticton from April 29-May 3. I rode in with Councillor Gould and the two of us ended up in many of the same events. Mayor Coyne and I were together in a few of the other workshops.
On May 20 I rode in my very first parade as an elected official. It was the Keremeos Elks Rodeo Parade and Mayor Coyne and I represented Princeton at that event. On June 29 I had an unusual opportunity as part of the annual Princeton Days Parade. I got to ride down a section of Vermilion Avenue on the running board of the historic Princeton Fire Truck. All members of Town Council were there and I had a cordless microphone. Once we reached Veteran’s Square, I hopped off and proceeded to MC the Parade. I have to admit that the event was a real highlight for me that stands out for the innovative approach taken by adding an MC.
My wife, Brenda, joined me on July 1 (Canada Day) and we manned a booth where we handed out flags, pins, and other Canadiana. Bren quite enjoyed putting temporary tattoos on children (and a few adults). On August 8 I took a solo trip to our Sister City, Tonasket, Washington. I met with City of Tonasket Mayor Dennis Brown and long-time friend Councillor Jensen Sackman. Jensen and I had originally met to discuss the Sister City relationship over dinner and bumped into Brown who was also very interested in proceeding with the Sister City program.
Another Convention Leads To Fall
I had heard about UBCM (Union of British Columbia Municipalities) for about as long as I’ve been involved in the media industry. From September 24-26 I had the opportunity to attend my first ever UBCM convention. It was in Vancouver and all of the Town Council, including the CAO, were in attendance. There were full days of workshops, a couple of sessions for resolution voting and scheduled meetings with BC Government Ministers or their staff. It was truly amazing and the 400+ logging trucks that traveled to the event got the attention of everyone there. I was filled with pride when I saw local truckers in the convoy.
Planning, Planning, Planning
On October 11 we entered into our annual Strategic Planning Session with a day-long event at RockRidge Canyon. The second session, October 15, was at Town Hall. The planning sessions covered a lot of territory and lays out the plans of Town Council for the next year and beyond. Projects are suggested and discussed. Those that are accepted find their way into budget sessions later in the year.
A Couple More Personal Highlights
On November 11 I placed the wreath at the cenotaph for the Government of Canada on behalf of MP Dan Albas. This was the third time I have done this for our MP. I was also requested by our MLA, Linda Larson, to place the wreath from the Government of British Columbia on her behalf. As a son of a veteran, I attend the Remembrance Day ceremonies anyway with my wife but what truly made the event a greater honour for me was to place those two wreaths.
One more thing that happened to me in the past year was truly unexpected. I got very ill in mid-November. While in Penticton ICU Mayor Coyne, Councillor McLean and CAO Thomas each made time to stop by and check on me. Not only was their visits crucial to my recovery but once I was out of hospital I feared missing Town Council meetings. Thanks to the ingenuity of the Town Hall Staff, I was able to attend a Regular Meeting of Town Council and a Special Meeting of Town Council via telephone. I made history, although it wasn’t my intention, as the first member of Princeton Town Council to attend a meeting on the phone. I was recovering in Osoyoos during both meetings and the effort made to include me boosted my spirits and demonstrated that we really are a ‘team’ – Town Council and all who work at Town Hall.
Finally Getting Back On Track
I started to attend my regular monthly committee meetings earlier this month after finally feeling well enough to do so. As you can see, it’s been a busy year for me. My schedule is just a small part of what your local elected officials do for you and your community. Hopefully, by sharing with you some of my personal highlights you will see that although there is a lot of work being done, we also enjoy what we are doing.
My name is George Elliott. I have been in the Media Industry since 1978. I spent 23 years in Broadcasting and worked in a total of six different radio stations located in southern British Columbia Canada during my career. In 2000 I switched gears and moved into the Print Media Industry at a small town, local weekly community newspaper. In 2004 I bought the paper and operated it with my wife, Brenda until July 2016 when we closed it. I launched a freelance web content and article writing business from my home in January 2014.