(Vernon’s new city council starting from top L includes: Scott Anderson, Brian Quiring, Akbal Mund and Kelly Fehr. From bottom L: Kari Gares, Victor Cumming (mayor) and Dalvir Nahal. (Photo provided by City of Vernon)
Vernon city council will be facing “real issues” caused by climate change, predicts new mayor Victor Cumming.
Cumming’s first speech as mayor followed his swearing-in at a special ceremony at city hall Monday night.
Friends and family jammed the council chamber to watch the pomp and pageantry, as a colour guard of a lone piper and two RCMP officers in red serge led the newly-elected council members to their seats.
Then, one-by-one, they were sworn-in to office by provincial court Judge Mark Takahashi.
Standing before the audience wearing his chain of office and holding a South Pacific talking stick, Cumming listed challenges facing the city including; safety issues and protection, economic development, parks and recreation, the new cultural centre and infrastructure.
But Cumming also warned that climate change is “in front” of council.
“We are going to have real issues in front of our council,” he said.
Speaking to Beach Radio News, Cumming said the Vernon area was “very dry” at certain times of the year and then experienced “significant rainfall” at other times.
“And the occurrence of those very significant events is increasing and the severity of those events is increasing, so we’re going to have to be clearer about how to address those,” Cumming said. “Run-off is a huge issue for a community like Vernon, particularly after a long dry spell.”
Cumming said because the region was so dry “the potential for wildfire is very high,” adding that was an issue facing much of the province.
The new mayor said his “vision” was of a council team that works together.