Whether you agreed with his decisions or not, the time and dedication Garry Litke has put towards striving to make the community a better place can not be debated.
Litke is a long time resident of the Okanagan Valley who was an educator for 33 years. At his announcement on Tuesday on the steps of City Hall, Litke shed a few tears, understandably, after spending nearly a decade working for residents of Penticton and the Okanagan-Similkameen while sitting with the regional district.
Litke, who also held administrative positions with the B.C. Teachers’ Fenderation and was president of the Okanagan Skaha Teachers’ Union for 10 years, had a vision for the community and had to take on tough tasks.
He gracefully took heat over the Penticton Hospitality Association legal battle loss and stood firm in his decision to protect employees of the city when he felt they were under attack.
In one interview after winning the election, Litke said he put advocating for a new hospital for the community on high-priority. It was one of the items he worked on with another retiring politician, Summerland mayor Janice Perrino, and MLA Dan Ashton to get done.
But the time for a change in council chambers has been voiced by many residents as the election campaigning begins. They will be able to put their stamp on what they want this city to look like at the next elections. Just as Litke told reporters on Tuesday while making his announcement on the steps of City Hall, it is important to learn from mistakes, but those continually looking backward are usually moving that same direction.
It might just be his last bit of good information he gets to voice to not only candidates, but voters, and possible some of his best.