A new chapter in Abbotsford’s political history officially began on Monday night as Bruce Banman was sworn in as mayor.
Banman took the oath of office, along with the eight elected councillors, during a short ceremony at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium.
Banman actually had to take the oath twice, as he was accidently handed the wrong sheet and initially took the councillor’s oath.
“Nice try, Moe,” Banman joked, hinting that Coun. Moe Gill switched the papers.
After the mistake was noticed, the Honourable Judge Wendy Young had Banman recite the correct oath.
In his first address as mayor, Banman thanked both former Coun. Lynne Harris and past Mayor George Peary for their hard work and said their “collective dedication to public service is a tribute to our city.”
Banman plans to meet with councillors to identify key issues, policies to deal with those issues and set priorities.
“Together, with our community partners, we will begin the process of building a vision for Abbotsford that is reflective of what our community truly wants from its government, strong, relevant leadership and a clear vision.”
He plans to hold community meetings and consultations and wants to ask everyone to “step up, to offer your ideas and knowledge. To tell us how you want to be involved.”
He called out to all of the candidates who ran for office in the recent municipal election to become part of the process.
Banman added that Abbotsford needs to be business-friendly and again spoke of his plan to create a Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Prosperity.
“Abbotsford is open for business.”
As for the need for a new water supply, Banman said the options will be examined.
“It is time for community involvement in reviewing all of the options, and perhaps a couple of new ones, to ensure the best solution for our city … I am 100 per cent confident we will find the answer that is right for our community. Both ours and Mission’s.”
He spoke of positive change that will see improvements in the community, its safety and prosperity. He also talked about accountability which he said must extend to every part of city hall.
“Our time is now and our work begins today.”