It’s a pleasure to be back.
With those words, Mayor Lyn Hall returned for a second term in the Prince George mayor’s chair. Hall along with the rest of council were officially sworn into office Tuesday.
The evening included a standing ovation for outgoing councillor Albert Koehler, who served on council for seven years.
Hall, who pointed out 2018 marked his seventh election campaign, which includes school district, council and the mayor’s position, said it can’t be done without the support of family.
“Each one of us around table, in an elected position, really depends on our family,” he said.
Hall said the current city council will continue the work of the previous council.
“Prince George has seen, over the past few years, record development and economic investment in our city,” he said. “Almost $500 million in development. This means jobs for our residents, it means workers can stay in Prince George rather than leave to work elsewhere.”
He said council committed to number of items in 2014, such as seniors housing, infrastructure and downtown redevelopment.
“Those things that we talked about doing and achieved so much, are still on the plate for us to continue to work on as a council,” Hall said. “The work will continue with the ongoing upgrading of our infrastructure, upgrading parks and trails, the drive to attract more business development to our city, such as a data centre, manufacturing and servicing the resource sector.”
He said there also are challenges to be met, such as affordable housing, social needs, transportation needs.
He said the city will continue with Talktober events where council and staff go out into local neighbourhoods to hear concerns. He added council will continue to work closely with UNBC and CNC.
Hall also recognized the efforts of city manager Kathleen Soltis and senior staff. The issue of pay increases for senior city staff and overtime during the wildfire evacuations became an election issue and candidates, including Hall, said the policies will be reviewed.
“These folks are professionals who work diligently to make sure our city operates like a finely tuned machine,” Hall said.
He also thanked the people “on the ground” at the city who “get the work done.”
“The next four years will be exciting, there will be hard work, sometimes stressful, but at the end of the day, all worth it,” Hall said. “Without a doubt, this group that you see before us is up for the challenge.
“This community is on the cusp of great things.”
After three votes by council, Hall along with Coun. Murry Krause, Coun. Terri McConnachie, and Coun. Kyle Sampson were named as the city’s representatives on the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George board.