Whenever we see a changing of the guard so to speak of government whether it be at the municipal, provincial or federal level the wish and hope is for a smooth transition. With the McBride Council the transition has proven to be a challenge because there are number of new councillors and it can be a steep learning curve for these new councillors right from the get go.

This lack of experience as a politician can be further challenging when all of a sudden you are now getting inundated with phone calls and e-mails from individuals wanting answers on a particular issue. This can be a bit daunting to say the least. The initial response is to pull back and not respond at all or be very selective on your responses. This does not sit well if you’re the writer or caller wanting an answer or clarification on a matter.

I can say that I was challenged many times by the constituents in the valley on a number of controversial issues over the past 9 years as the Regional District Director. It would have been an easy way out for me to not respond to these concerns raised by the constituent’s but I found it was best to deal with these issues head on. The goal in many cases was to try and find that middle ground response that satisfied most of the concerned constituents in some way.

In regards to what’s happening in McBride is that two months into their four year term a controversial firing of the public works supervisor has side tracked that smooth transition that all new governments want. McBride is now in some form of damage control as they try and work through this process with the Labour Relations Board and at the same time try and appease the concerns raised by many of the folks in the community. This all comes at a time when the newly elected council are trying to do the job they were elected to do.

What is that job? Many folks living in and outside the village will agree that we want to see this new council focus on issues like trying to re-energize the current economy along with trying to find new opportunities to attract new businesses to the area. We all want to see more kids attending our schools, local businesses thriving, and new businesses starting up. We all want to see council work on ensuring the longevity of our hospital and work on attracting and retaining doctors in our community as a high priority. These are all important challenges which should be on the new councils to do list.

So my free advice to the new McBride Council is that you have to be prepared to deal with whatever issues come your way and be prepared to deal with these issues head on. What you will all find out over time is that you will eventually acquire experience, knowledge and respect in being able to handle these various situations. This experience, knowledge and respect you gain will hopefully help contribute toward making McBride a better place to live for all of us.

Ken Starchuck