Fresh slate begins at Cranbrook City Hall
An entirely new City of Cranbrook council was sworn into office last night (Dec. 8) in front of an overflowing council chamber audience.
Justice Grant Sheard conducted the oath of office, first with Mayor Lee Pratt and then, in unison, with the six new council members, Norma Blissett, Wesly Graham, Isaac Hockley, Danielle Cardozo, Ron Popoff and Tom Shypitka.
Uniquely, this was the first oath of office conducted with the City of Cranbrook without a returning councillor or mayor.
During their inaugural addresses, each candidate thanked supporters and voters, with Mayor Pratt making special mention of thanks to Mayor Wayne Stetski and other outgoing councilors “for their service to the citizens of Cranbrook.”
Pratt pledged that he and his council “are committed to doing the best we can” and maintaining the city’s quality of life.
“We all agree we need we need to be financially responsible and we need to add to economic growth,” Pratt said, as well as strive to improve infrastructure and roads.
Pratt said his council will be working on a “new approach” to economic growth and to a roads program.
“The citizens of Cranbrook voted for change and we share in that,” he said, noting the city must continue to work with partners such as the Downtown Business Association, Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce, Columbia Basin Trust, College of the Rockies Regional District of East Kootenay and others.
“We must also work with the realtors in town,” Pratt added, “To help let people know that Cranbrook is open for business. Over the next four years you are going to see positive results.”
Coun. Tom Shypitka, the top vote getter in the Nov. 15 election among council candidates, said that honour will bring a challenge.
“It means I will be under the spot light as well. I take your votes very seriously,” he said, adding he’s looking forward to the next four years with his “five new brothers and sisters. I know we will be a very cohesive unit.”
Coun. Ron Popoff said he is “still a little overwhelmed by this experience. Now it is time for the work begin.”
Coun. Danielle Cardozo admitted that campaigning with three young children “isn’t easy,” but it was all worth it, she said, looking into the gallery to where her daughter was seated.
She said she is ready to get to work and expects “to do a lot of learning.”
Cardozo noted the differences among the council members as a strength moving forward, with the likelihood of debates.
Coun. Norma Blissett said she is honoured to be able to serve her community and expects the new council to catch on fast.
“I think we are all quick learners,” she said, thanking voters for their confidence.
She concluded that the new council will also “build on the hard work of the previous council.”
The final two councilors were brief, offering the same thanks as their peers.
“I’m looking forward to the next four years,” said Coun. Wesly Graham, the only member of council who has served on a municipal council before; three terms in the Town of Creston.
Coun. Isaac Hockley thanked his wife. “Happy wife; happy life,” he smiled.
Lead image: City of Cranbrook Council and Mayor 2014-2018. Left to right from back: