Ron Paull is the new Mayor of Quesnel after taking the Oath of Office at Tuesday night’s inaugural City Council meeting.
Paull also delivered his inaugural address, and talked about how the job has changed over the years, saying it is no longer about pot holes, snow removal and barking dogs.
“Emerging societal issues are competing for the lead today. Taking over our agenda are a conglomeration of complex society issues, rooted to a large part in the illicit drug trade. Crime, street disorder, vagrancy, violence, vandalism, addiction, mental health, public safety, homelessness and associated need for different levels of supportive housing, are all interconnected in need of our immediate care and attention.”
Paull went on to say that not just Council, but the community as a whole, must not be afraid to openly discuss and share ideas together for outside the box solutions.
He also talked about seeking effective, yet compassionate solutions, and to look to other communities and even other countries for ideas.
Paull also touched on taxation.
“Past campaigns for me were mainly focused on spending. Pretty simple, the more we spend the more we tax. Inflation, global economic uncertainty and climate change pressure on our industrial tax base, are all making spending and inherent taxation an even more pressing issue.”
He also talked about some current Council priorities, and about his desire to get them to the finish line.
“I am excited about out opportunity to finally bring the Highway 97 interconnector to official project status, which will pave the way for us to reclaim our naturally beautiful downtown as a people place rather than a loud and dirty provincial highway. We have been chasing the dream of reclaiming our downtown for 50 years when Alec Fraser was the first Mayor. I am also optimistic that we will soon see our community forest become a working reality. We have much work and advocating ahead of us on the forestry front, particularly when it comes to fibre supply and timber allocation.”
Paull noted that he highlighted 20 issues during the campaign, and that Council would soon be bringing their issues to the table.
“Together we’ll sort through them to collaboratively construct a strategic plan that will lead us onward and upward through our coming term.”
Paull also briefly touched on the city’s vaccine mandate.
“I have no comment on this matter because it is before the courts, but I do wish to say that I should be able to have, in fact I must be able to have access to my mailbox and my Mayor’s office which is behind that wall. I am very, very anxious to see the mandates and COVID behind us.”
Paull opened the night by welcoming back all incumbent Councillors, and one new Councillor to the table.
“As an incoming Council we’re fortunate to have what is really a head start in knowing one another and in knowing where we stand on the myriad of issues and opportunities that await us. And a special welcome to our team goes out to our only new Councillor Deb McKelvie.”
He also expressed appreciation to outgoing Mayor Bob Simpson for his past 8 years at the helm.
The night also featured congratulations from the Lhtako Dene and Nazko First Nations.