Now that a new municipal council has been elected, the tone of Summerland’s local government is about to change.
All except one of those elected on Saturday is new to Summerland’s council table. The results make it clear that voters wanted a change.
This election can be seen in part as a vote against the Urban Growth Plan, an issue which earlier generated strong opposition.
The outcome can also be seen as the result of repeated calls for a council that would listen to and act on the wishes of the public.
Throughout the discussion and debate on the growth plan, council faced a strong and vocal opposition from a significant number in the community. The decision to proceed with the growth plan was seen by some as a disregard for what the public wanted.
During the election campaign, members of the incoming council promised to act according to the wishes of the public.
Over the next four years, there will be times when this will prove difficult if not impossible. Elected officials at any level of government are sometimes faced with tough choices.
Budgets seldom satisfy everyone, particularly when they include tax increases or utility rate increases.
At other times, elected officials must look beyond the present population to the needs of future generations. Choices today may have a huge effect for decades to come.
Land use plans are long-lasting and not easily changed. The same is true of financial decisions, especially those which require borrowing for infrastructure projects.
Public input is essential and the voice of the people must be taken seriously.
But there are also times when difficult and unpopular decisions must be made.