Newly-elected Sooke councillors and Mayor Maja Tait were sworn in at council’s inaugural meeting on Monday night.
The oaths of office and allegiance to the King were administered by provincial court Judge Ted Gouge, with Tait and councillors Al Beddows, Jeff Bateman, Tony St-Pierre and Dana Lajeunesse accepting their responsibilities.
As a result of planned vacations, councillors Megan McMath and Kevin Pearson could not attend the ceremony, but corporate officer Carolyn Mushata affirmed them into office before the ceremony.
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In her inaugural address, Tait said the elected council members bring representation to all Sooke residents.
“Together, we carry immense responsibility to lead our community through difficult times,” she said.
“Alongside us, we are fortunate to be supported in our work by district staff. They are remarkable professionals and members of our team who are dedicated to their service to the citizens of Sooke.”
Tait said council has unfinished business from the last term, including reviewing and finalizing a new official community plan, advancing the transportation and parks master plans, the climate action plan and the community economic development strategy.
“These interconnected pieces provide a path forward for our community and one that, with careful financial planning, will help us realize the shared vision we have for the community,” she said.
Tait conceded it would take hard work in partnerships with senior governments and others to make meaningful changes in some areas, and she’s embarked on a strategy of advocacy, advancing health care, land use planning, community safety and public art.
“We recognize that local government has its role, as do other community and not-for-profits and the private sector. We view you all as community partners and stakeholders. There is no ‘us and them’ – only we together,” Tait said.
Tait, Beddows, Bateman, St-Pierre, Lajeunesse and McMath are returnees to council. Pearson, a former councillor, is the newcomer.
Beddows was appointed acting mayor for November and December to serve whenever Tait is unavailable.
Tait is appointed the the Capital Regional District (CRD) board, Capital Regional Hospital District board and the Capital Region Housing Corporation board. Bateman was named the alternate.
Appointments to other boards and committees include Lajeunesse (CRD arts commission and CRD water supply commission); St-Pierre (CRD climate action inter-municipal task force and CRD regional housing trust fund committee); Tait (SEAPARC and Te’mexw Treaty advisory committee); Pearson (Juan de Fuca water distribution commission); Beddows (SEAPARC); Bateman (Victoria Family Court and Youth Justice Committee and Vancouver Island Regional Library board); and McMath (Capital Regional Emergency Services Telecommunications).