District of Kent Municipal Hall was full Monday night for the inaugural meeting of the District’s new council. (From left to right: Agassiz RCMP Sgt. Darren Rennie, councillors Stan Watchorn, Susan Spaeti, Kristen Schwichtenberg, Duane Post, new mayor Sylvia Pranger, the Honourable Judge Wendy Young.) (Nina Grossman/The Observer)

New councils inaugurated in Kent, Harrison

Fresh faces join returning councillors, mayors in both municipalities

Inaugural ceremonies in Kent and Harrison Monday night celebrated new councils in both municipalities.

In the District of Kent, a piper from the Harrison Highlanders led a procession into Municipal Hall where returning councillors Susan Spaeti and Duane Post, alongside new councillors Kerstin Schwichtenberg and Stan Watchorn were sworn into office by Judge Wendy Young.

Sylvia Pranger, who has sat both in the mayor and councillor’s seat, took the oath for her role as mayor for the next four years. She thanked outgoing councillor Darcy Striker and mayor John Van Laerhoven for their work in the District.

“You have left big shoes to fill,” Pranger said of Van Laerhoven. “You have both been an inspiration and a pleasure to work with.”

Outgoing mayor John Van Laerhoven has had a career as a teacher and a municipal politician. He joked that his next venture might be stand up comedy at Monday’s inaugural meeting. (Nina Grossman/The Observer)

Van Laerhoven gave a cheerful good bye speech, thanking DOK staff and councillors for their work on projects fulfilled during his mayoral term including the new Kent Harrison Search and Rescue building, the Community Recreation and Cultural Centre, the Agassiz spray park and more recently, the Hammersley pump station and shoulder enhancement project.

Van Laerhoven offered the new council some advice garnered from his previous career as a teacher: “Always maintain a sense of humour,” he said. “And don’t sweat the small stuff.”

Related: Mayor-elect Pranger hopes to maintain past work of District of Kent council

In Harrison Hot Springs, onlookers filled the Memorial Hall to watch the incoming council sworn in.

Incumbent mayor Leo Facio said his 22 years in municipal politics has been “an honour and a real pleasure.” The mayor was sworn in for his fourth term leading the Village council. (Submitted)

Another Harrison Highlander led the evening’s procession before Sts’ailes chief Ralph Leon led a traditional prayer and Madalyn and Jack Clempson perfomed ‘O Canada.’

Judge Brent Hoy administered Oaths of Office to incumbent councillor Samantha Piper and new councillors Gerry Palmer, Ray Hooper and Michie Vidal.

Incumbent mayor Leo Facio took his fourth Oath of Office as Village mayor.

After their first seating as a new council, Facio gave an inaugural address and said the newly-formed leadership has “a unique opportunity to make a difference, not just for today, but to lay a foundation for a better tomorrow.”

“There will be many challenges moving forward to improve, impress, explore, expand and deliver,” he added. I am looking forward to working with all of you and honoured to serve this community for the next four years.”

Related: Facio looking forward to working with Harrison’s new council



nina.grossman@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

‘Re-emerging’ artist takes on Harrison’s Ranger Station residency

Painter Ava P. Christl will be the gallery’s newest artist in residence

Kent wastewater plant gets $7,500 grant for improvement study

The district will be looking at modifications to its digester system

Fantasy Farms told to stop holding special events on farmland that go against agricultural rules

The Morans say it might spell the end of their seasonal events like Reapers Haunted Attractions

New event invites Agassiz to meet museum’s resident ghost

The Haunted Museum Tour will take place on Oct. 26 and 30

REAL ESTATE: Homesteading in the Cariboo a reality

Columnist Freddy Marks talks about why so many are looking to a ranch life when it comes to property

VIDEO: Agassiz lights candles in memory of missing, murdered Indigenous women

The Sisters in Spirit vigil took place at the Agassiz United Church

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

ICBC willing to loosen grip on driver claim data, David Eby says

Private insurers say claims record monopoly keeps them out

B.C. principal suspended for failing to help student who reported inappropriate touching

Principal didn’t remove student from the teacher’s class nor call the parents within a reasonable time

Port Moody mayor goes back on unpaid leave during sex assault investigation

Rob Vagramov said he intends to return as mayor in three or four weeks

UBC issues statement after instructor tells students to vote for Liberal Party

University says partisan messaging was not intentional

Cowichan Valley brothers win big in lottery for second time

Playing same numbers net big wins over a three year period

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

Most Read