The District of Kitimat council were sworn in on Monday, November 5, at a ceremony held in the Luso Hall. From left, Lani Gibson, Terry Marleau, Edwin Empinado, mayor Phil Germuth, Mark Zielinski, Rob Goffinet and Mario Feldhoff. They are flanked by Cpl. Scott Kirychuk and Sgt. Eric Black of the Kitimat RCMP. (Photo Gerry Leibel)

New council will meet on November 13

Emissions, recycling top the list of new councillors’ priorities

The new District of Kitimat council was sworn in at a ceremony held at the Luso Hall on Monday night.

The ceremony, attended by friends and family members, saw the new council together for the first time since the election.

New council members Lani Gibson, Mark Zielinski and Terry Marleau were all excited about the prospect of serving the District and being able to effect real change, particularly with regards to emission controls.

Lani Gibson said apart from emission reductions she would also be focussing on supporting local contractors to become familiar with the provincial government’s Energy Step Code and to build structures that are more energy efficient.

“I want to also look at the barriers that local contractors encounter when it comes to building energy efficient structures. One of those barriers is that the closest energy advisor is in Prince George,” said Gibson.

Other issues she will be focussing on specifically will be diverting organic waste away from the landfill, in light of the fact that the District of Kitimat has just completed a $2 million capping of a section of the landfill that has been shut down.

She will also be looking at how council can institute a proper recycling program for the district.

“There is widespread desire in the community around a recycling program,” said Gibson.

She is also very keen to develop an action plan around truth and reconciliation with input from the Haisla Nation Council.

Tourism and small business development, and increasing the number of events that are held in District venues are also on Gibson’s agenda.

Mark Zielinksi said he is honoured to be able to represent Kitimat and is keen to get working as soon as possible.

Top of his list of priorities is to look into the construction of council offices, a new fire department building that is built green for sustainability and a contingency fund for the fire department.

The environment is important for Zielinski – he is also keen to get a recycling program going and wants every new light fitting or replacement bulb used by the District to be an energy-saving LED bulb.

“I am also particularly keen on improving working conditions for council employees, and improving the communication between employees and council,” said Zielinski, adding that he would like to see closer cooperation between the District and unions.

Terry Marleau said his election victory hasn’t quite sunk in yet, but that he is quite excited to begin work.

“The welfare of seniors and affordable housing are very important issues right now, especially with the cost of living going up in Kitimat,” said Marleau.

Through his interaction with young people through teaching, Marleau said he would also be looking at how young Kitimatians can become more involved in the community.

“Young people need to be brought onboard. We need them to make suggestions and get them involved,” said Marleau.

District of Kitimat spokesperson Mike Dewar confirmed that the first sitting of the new council will be on Monday, November 13.

Gibson, Zielinski and Marleau will join mayor Phil Germuth and re-elected councillors Mario Feldhoff, Edwin Empinado and Rob Goffinet for the first council meeting.

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