With expressions of thanks to outgoing Mayor Marty Bootsma and Couns. Ivan Idzan and Kevin Flynn, the new city council took their oaths of office Monday night to begin their three-year term.
Nancy Cooper was sworn in as mayor by Provincial Court Judge Ed de Walle, along with councillors Denise Reimer, Marg Kentel, Debbie Cannon, Alan Harrison, Ken Jamieson and Chad Eliason.
“I am very excited about this new council and I know there is lots to do in the weeks and months ahead,” said Cooper in a brief speech in which she thanked her predecessors for their extremely hard work on behalf of the city.
This council marks the first time in Salmon Arm’s history where the majority of members are women.
The meeting was mostly ceremonial — a chance for the outgoing members to wrap up their role as elected officials and to welcome the new and returning members.
Bootsma was lauded by council for his 12 years of service to the city, which included six years as mayor, before he decided to retire.
In typical fashion, Bootsma’s last statement was joking.
“I’ll miss the job, I’ll miss the people — but I hope to get over that real soon,” he said with a grin.
He thanked his fellow council members and city staff for their dedication.
“There were no personal agendas. We all worked for the benefit of the community and always accepted the decisions that were made with no resentment or bitterness.”
Coun. Alan Harrison was echoed by the other council members when he said Bootsma earned their respect for steering a respectful and well-functioning council.
“He could separate opinion from character… He has set a high bar.”
Outgoing Coun. Ivan Idzan also took time to thank his colleagues, saying he was pleased to see four women elected.
“Salmon Arm is ahead of the curve on that one and I hope Salmon Arm can continue to be a leader in many other ways.”
Coun. Kevin Flynn, who made an unsuccessful bid for the mayor’s job, did not attend the meeting. Despite his absence, other councillors praised his nine years of work, both at the city council table and the many regional and provincial boards he served on.
“He always took issues full-on,” said Eliason. “He helped run a great city and he will be missed.”
The meeting was blessed with a prayer from First Nations Elder Lucy Williams.