The new mayor and council of Fort St. James were sworn in on Wednesday, Dec. 7.
A crowd of supporters and community members came out to watch the proceedings, including the new RCMP Staff Sergeant Thalhofer as well as the outgoing councillors.
While outgoing mayor Sandra Harwood was not present, her work and initiatives while in office were recognized by Mayor Rob MacDougall.
MacDougall said a few words promising to carry on what she and the past council had begun and thanking them for their contributions.
He then presented all the past councillors present Bev Playfair, Brenda Gouglas and Kris Nielson with bouquets of flowers.
In what was the shortest council meeting so far this year, the new mayor and council were sworn in and made short work of receiving the reports, passing over signing authority and receiving and filing the correspondence.
There was no discussion during the first meeting but some of the new councillors said a few words to the audience, encouraging an open-door policy for people to bring their concerns forward.
The first meeting was short on new and old business but the council will be getting down to business with their next meeting on Dec. 14 at 7 p.m..
In a later interview, MacDougall said he will be making the doctor shortage his number one priority now he is in office, with the transportation issues the community is facing and support for seniors in the form of the seniors centre also among his top concerns.
“It’s a good feeling,” said MacDougall, about being back in as mayor after his three years away.
“It’s gratifying and it’s humbling,” he said. “And I’m going to do my best,” including council in his comment, and said he thinks the new council represents a really good cross section of the community.