I was sad to hear of the passing of the former mayor, Don Rogers, whose council was elected in 1990 for a three-year term. The many accomplishments of this council were most impressive, stemming from a cohesive group of councillors who were determined to make a difference. The inauguration of the transit system was high on the list, particularly since the region was populated by an increasingly senior demographic.
On the financial side the demands of upgrading of the aging infrastructure was increasingly expensive and, if spread over the whole urban area, would be prohibitive. The idea of limiting development to the already serviced part of the town was deemed to be of paramount importance in keeping tax levels at a reasonable level.
In planning areas, the community plan was revised with much higher provisions for parks, green space, trails and sensitive areas. The plan eventually proved to be one of the most environmentally aware in the whole province and served as a template for other communities.
In another enlightened initiative, Alderman Dorothy Argent and Dr. Mary Thomas dreamed up the idea of restoring the much-eroded banks of the Salmon River. Mayor Don and his council adopted the idea and the roundtable was established, perhaps the first such group in the province. Over the intervening years an estimated 60 per cent of the banks have been improved.
Although a previous council had allowed building on the wetlands north of the railway tracks, council’s concern about the development eventually resulted in additional acreage being added to the wildlife sanctuary and a reduction from 120 homes to the present twelve.
It is hard to exaggerate his influence in those early 1990s when so many improvements to our community took place, many through the far sightedness of Don and his council.