Message from the Mayor
As the municipal election draws closer I would like to recap some of council’s achievements over this term. Economic development was a priority, and took many forms. These included: keeping the business tax ratio at a competitive level and tax raises to a minimum; a tax incentive on business improvements; a regional tourism plan that produced a new valley wide website, which is another tool for business to advertise their goods and services; and the “buy local – buy fresh” initiative.
Another milestone is a regional service agreement that will provide reliable funding for the tourism information centre in Keremeos. The Keremeos and Area Youth Ambassador program was started this year and represented our area very well. Many thanks go to Sherry Philpott-Adhikary who coordinated the program and the three ambassadors who committed their time. Significant upgrades to municipal assets such as parks and the Victory Hall, the creation of a dog park and the completion of the trail inside the village add to the many amenities we can be proud of. Unfortunately bollards at trail heads, designed to prevent vehicular traffic, moved the previously less visible yearly transient issue inside village boundaries. As a result the village is obtaining a license of occupation for that section of the trail, which will enable us to prohibit camping and parking in those affected areas. In past years I have repeatedly spoken to various ministries on the issues arising from camping in the river bed. At the UBCM conference this year I led a delegation to the Ministry of Forests discussing ways to address this valley-wide issue.
As part of our communication plan two citizen’s surveys were conducted and a new village website and quarterly newsletter were developed. Council conducted the first operational core review, which gave us a good picture of operational costs and staffing levels in comparison to other communities.
I am proud of our cooperative relationship with the regional district that allows us to keep services like the fire department, recreation, waste management, planning, health and education affordable.
Water is an important resource and the multi-year water plan for the whole valley is a project I would like to see completed. Supporting a sustainable community forest to ensure the future of this resource is important to me. Working together on issues that affect us all also includes First Nations. At present we are working on a protocol agreement that will formalize our relationship with the Lower Similkameen Indian Band to create a path for future cooperation.
With your support on election day, I would like to build on our many achievements and lead the next council as your mayor into a very challenging new term.
Village of Keremeos