Mayor offers parting comments

Susan Johnston shares her thoughts on term accomplishments and the future of Hope

I want to address the Hope taxpayers, residents and friends and would like to share some thoughts with you as I make my exit as mayor of the District of Hope.

I have very much enjoyed being your mayor, although the journey has not been without its challenges. We, on council, have accomplished a lot for you over the last three years and I hear from many of you that myself and council have served you well. I want to thank you for providing me with the opportunity to serve by electing me as your mayor and I want you to know I have appreciated your support. I have loved my job and I shall miss it.

As a council and a community we have accomplished so much. For me, the highlights have included the building of the Flying J and bringing the Hope Landfill into compliance and closing. We have saved the taxpayers of Hope approximately $8 million dollars over the next few years by opening a new Transfer Station; infrastructure in the district was repaired and future planning has been undertaken to keep us in good stead. We now have an inventory of our assets and are making progress in our plans for a Public Safety Building. We are also working with Barrack Gold on the plan for a ski resort that will change the face of Hope forever. These are only a few of many significant accomplishments that were started and some that are now complete. I feel very proud and honoured to have been a part of it.

Hope is very similar  to other like size communities in B.C. in its challenges;  yet, at the same time it is like no where else on earth. I love Hope and believe that we benefit here simply because of the good fortune of our location. We are blessed through little effort of our own as we are able to enjoy the unique beauty this place has to offer.

There is always a place for feedback in the work of a public servant and elected official. Both compliments and complaints serve to make improvements in the quality of life for the residents of our town. The majority of people have been supportive of the work that this council and I have accomplished. I would like to take this opportunity to share some words of caution for those who have not. As a council we have had to make some difficult and unpopular decisions in an effort to improve living conditions for the residents of Hope. We may not always share with you the painstaking process we have undertaken in making these decisions, however, they have never been taken lightly or been made with haste. I encourage you to gather all the facts from reliable sources and be wary of gossip and hearsay. Just because someone said something on Facebook doesn’t make it the truth. I encourage those who have in the past chosen to remain silent to step forward into the forefront and openly show their support. We need your support as much you need ours. I would like you to know that we have one of the best groups of staff anywhere. They continually work hard with limited resources to keep the operations of this town running smoothly. We are fortunate to have this group of dedicated, hardworking, and reliable people.

The culture here is unique and different and our expectations are very high. Unfortunately, our budget is very low. Every dollar spent has been done so with great care and attention to the ever evolving needs of this community. It was an unpopular decision, however, a necessary one to raise taxes in order to continue to meet those needs. We cannot grow a community on zero percent tax increases. It is your right as taxpayers to vote in the election. It is of the utmost importance to choose people that you trust to make the difficult decisions that will continue to strengthen our community.

It has been an honour and a privilege to have been able to serve the residents and taxpayers of Hope for 12 years; nine as a councillor and the last three as mayor. I am not seeking re-election for a number of reasons. One of the biggest reasons being that as a result of George’s heart attack last September, we as a family have had to seriously evaluate how we will spend what healthy time that we have ahead. It has become clear that although we hate to admit it there are more years behind us then there are ahead of us; so, we will spend them enjoying some leisure time together.

I want you all to know what the roll of the mayor of a community entails. It is to chair the meetings of council and most importantly to declare a state of emergency when necessary. That, by law is the roll of the mayor. As mayor and council we are the governance in a community. We make the laws and change the laws, we govern, and we lead. The staff enforce those laws and carry out the wishes of council in maintaining the order and operation of the community. If you don’t know the answers to a question or questions, please ask someone who does. I encourage you to call district hall and ask our well qualified staff.

In closing, I want to wish the next mayor and council the very best. It has been my experience that the politics in this town are not all around the council table. I encourage the new council to always ask yourselves if it is in the best interest of all residents and taxpayers, to take nothing personally and above all be honest and morally correct. You will not always agree; therefore, do try to be kind and respectful to each other.

Hope is on the cusp. It is ready to burst forth. We are on the map and growing daily. Dare to dream and then get involved in moving us forward with the positive energy and enthusiasm that I know and feel and witness everyday. I’m hearing that things are happening in Hope!  Yes, yes they are!

Here is an interesting quote that I find befitting, it is by Theodore Roosevelt: “It’s not the critic who counts. It’s not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit goes to the man who’s actually in the arena whose face is marred with dust and sweat and blood who strives valiantly and who errs and fails and is sometimes victorious – but when he fails at least he does so daring greatly.”

I wish to personally thank all of you! All of our amazing volunteers and district staff and council members for all of their hard work, it means a great deal to me and to Hope. Most importantly, to your future.

Endeavour to stay positive! I trust you will fair well as I bid you Farewell!

Susan Johnston,

District of Hope Mayor