On being a council

The following is George Rowe’s address to council.


Through the excellent coverage of the Tumbler Ridge News I have been able to follow your campaign and thus extrapolate from its pages something of the intent and the intensity of each elected member of council. Captivating words and powerful phrases and stimulating thoughts jumped out of the pages and arrested me immediately. I saw words and phrases like:

  • Stronger community
  • Building a stronger community together
  • Stable future
  • Partnership agreements
  • Accountability
  • Working together
  • Vision leadership
  • Diverse economy
  • Motivated
  • Committed
  • Invested
  • Getting things done

Ladies and gentlemen you have set the bar extremely high. I sense from your own words, from the efforts of your campaign that you have a deep and insatiable desire to lead Tumbler Ridge into the future. You did not become a part of the municipal process and program because those before you did a miserable job or because you have a chip on your shoulder or you have something personal to prove. You are where you are tonight because of a deep, deep passion and an all-encompassing love for this wonderful community. If you are here for any other reason, then I would be greatly disappointed and would have chosen to have stayed in Chetwynd for tonight

Tonight you are in a place of authority, and while it may sound minuscule on your agenda of many things to do, let me say it again. Tonight you are in a place of authority by the will of the people. Never let arrogance cause you to take your position for granted. You are in this place of authority because politics put you there, but let the dynamics of common sense keep you there. I like the diversity that you bring to the table – a new Mayor and only two incumbents, but unless that diversity and energy and spirited dynamics culminates in a sense of unity, then we will stumble – maybe even fall. I am not talking about unity in a sense of total agreement, because that will not happen.

I am talking about unity of purpose; I am talking about dreams and visions and hope and aspirations. I am talking about a group of elected officials who will put the needs of the community above your own needs, a group of elected officials who will come alongside of the people who elected you and who will do everything you possibly can to represent them with the highest degree of respect.

Do not just challenge us with fancy and flowery words that tickle our ears and give us a warm and fuzzy feeling. Challenge us by leading us and encouraging us and motivating us. If you have to, take this community by the hand as you lead us through the shadowy paths and underbrush of uncertainty; lead us to mountains of great expectations and across the flowery fields of accomplishment. Along the way we will be bumped and bruised but at the same time we will be blessed and accomplished and we will always remember that you took us by the hand and led us.

Your greatest encouragement will be the people of this community. Your greatest challenges will be the people of this community. If you rise us like political giants, shake your fist in the face of adversity and meet the challenges of leading this community head on, then even your strongest opponent will rise up and salute you. They may not always salute you for succeeding but they will definitely salute you for making a 100% effort. By choice or by design you will develop a thick skin but at the same time that thick skin must be pliable and soft and adaptable. Nothing will bring you greater satisfaction than that of looking someone straight in the eye knowing that you have done everything humanly possible to bring us forward so that our dreams come to fruition while the future remains vibrant and exciting.

When you have cast your collective vision for the future of our community, do not let the strong opinions of a few derail you from that vision. If that vision is realistic and manageable and exciting and where the rubber hits the road, then in addition to the twenty-five years I have spent in Tumbler Ridge, I will plan to spend many more.

Because you will work in the public on behalf of the public, it will be the public that will judge you. Sometimes you will be judged harshly and if you are not well grounded in who you are and what you represent and the self-written portrait you have made of yourself in this paper, then this harsh judgment by the public will be fatal. If your canvassing in the local paper is any indication of who you are, then reach deep inside yourself and pull out of your inner being the qualitative and quantitative attributes that make you who you are. You are more than the self-written portrait in the Tumbler Ridge News.

My father used to say; “When you find yourself in the ashes of despair and despondency, take yourself by the boot straps and pull yourself out because no one else will do it for you.”

Learn from each other! Depend upon each other! Trust each other! You are a team! Believe in yourselves! You are gifted! You are unique! There is no other DNA on this planet that can match your DNA. Rise up! Be strong!

Finally, aim for the stars, and perchance you might hit the moon. If you aim only for the moon, you will not get off the curb!