The work to deliver change in Penticton starts now, says Julius Bloomfield, who officially became the city’s new mayor Tuesday night.
Bloomfield, along with elected councillors Amelia Boultbee, Isaac Gilbert, Ryan Graham, Helena Konanz, James Miller and Campbell Watt, took the oath of office on Nov. 1, in front of several dozens of people in attendance at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.
“Four years may seem like a long time, but there’s a lot of work ahead of us, so let’s get started,” Bloomfield said.
In his first public address as mayor, Bloomfield said the city’s new council is united in tackling the challenges related to public safety and housing.
“The issues can seem daunting, which is why we’ll take a focused approach.”
Bloomfield received 3,374 votes in the civic election on Oct. 15 to defeat former mayor John Vassilaki, who served in the role from 2018 to 2022.
Vassilaki received 2,052 votes.
The city’s inauguration ceremony kicked off at 6 p.m., with almost a full house of people in the PTCC eager to watch their newly elected public servants officially occupy their roles.
Among the first orders of business for Bloomfield, meanwhile, included appointing Watt as deputy mayor for the next six months. Konanaz, his fellow councillor, will serve in the role afterward for half a year.
Five members of council were also appointed to the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen board along with Bloomfield, with Miller, Graham, Konanz and Watt accepting their position.
Boultbee and Gilbert will serve as alternates on the RDOS.
While Konanz served on Penticton council from 2011 to 2018, Boultbee, Gilbert and Graham have no prior experience in the role. Watt and Miller were elected in 2022 as incumbents.
“As a council, it’s our job to set the direction and to ensure words evolve into concrete action,” Bloomfield added in his first address to the public. “As the world seems to head into a rocky economic period, we need to maintain our fiscal discipline.
“There is infrastructure that needs to be replaced, roads that must be paved and plowed and the variety of service you expect to be professionally delivered. We will do this with always keeping in mind that it is your money and that you can trust us to spend it wisely.”
The new council’s first meeting will be on Nov. 15.