Michael Hind, Executive Director, Tri-Cities Chamber of CommerceAt the Chamber, we understand the importance of public office and the challenges that it brings. We would like to start with a congratulations to all those candidates for stepping forward to represent the interests of the greater community.   After the whirlwind of the last 3 months, the 2014 municipal elections are finally over. While there were small changes to Port Coquitlam City Council, Coquitlam and Port Moody represented the greatest area of change with the loss of 2 incumbents. Port Moody welcomed the youngest Councillor in BC, Robert Vagermov, age 22.

Local Election 2014

The greatest turnover occurred in the School Trustee elections with 4 veterans losing elections and 2 self-selecting out by not running.  As a result, 6 new SD-43 School Trustee’s (or 66% of the Trustee’s) will participate in the management of a budget in excess of $300 Million dollars with 3 veteran trustees and a newly hired Superintendent to help share the load.

This year, the Tri-Cities Chamber redesigned our All Candidates Meetings into structured debates. Our intention was to ask questions that shared our candidate’s knowledge, skills and revealed the scope of their ability.  The new format involved greater community participation through the use of online service Pigeonhole Live – a platform where residents could submit questions online – vote for them –  in an attempt to increase transparency and provide access to candidates and incumbents in their respective races. We’re happy to say that from the feedback received, both from our membership and the community at large, we accomplished these goals.

I have been coaching for longer than I care to remember and I see many similarities between teams and city councils. Both are groups of people brought together to work towards common goals. In order to reach those goals, the teams and their leaders need to set standards and expectations to allow the process to happen. That will lead to a successful outcome.

In fact, we expect councils to raise the standard for politics in the Tri-Cities just as we did with our new debate format. The Chamber has the following expectations of our city councils:

1. Councilors work together in collaboration to research, justify and debate policy in good faith, with the interest of their constituents at the forefront;

2. Councilors move forward beyond their differences to ensure the dialogue is focused on the issues and not on personal agendas  to move our cities forward;

3. Councilors reach out to their respective business communities and work with them to assist in strengthening the economic landscape of our region;

4. Councils share with their counterparts in other municipalities and other levels of government to better the Tri-Cities community as a whole.

Our expectations are clear and quite simple. Our desire is to see city councils that collaborate, both within their city and within the Tri-Cities as a whole, in order to make our entire community a better place to live, work and play.

Michael Hind
Executive Director