Running for his third term, Kimberley City Councillor Darryl Oakley says that the job is a huge commitment of time and energy, which he gladly does because he loves Kimberley.
“It’s definitely community service,” he said. “But it’s still a lot of fun. Every once in a while someone says thank you and that means a lot.”
Oakley invites you to take a walk through Kimberley with him as he talks about what he sees as priorities in the coming term.
We start on the edges of town.
“One thing that is not being dealt with is the ecological integrity of our watersheds. I really believe we’re going to have huge disappointment in the future if we don’t ensure the health of the Mark Creek and Matthew Creek watersheds. We need much more focus to support the ecology of the watersheds. We have to factor in climate change.”
Oakley says that while the Mark Creek Integrated Watershed Committee does good work, it isn’t enough.
“The committee is well meaning but it’s all stakeholders. We should be looking at a stewardship program. We need to utilize the expertise in our community. There’s lots of it there and people are willing.”
Oakley has long been a champion of reviving Kimberley’s aging infrastructure. It may seem boring to talk about pipes and water mains, he says, but it is one of the most important challenges facing Kimberley.
“It’s basic meat and potatoes work. But it needs our focused attention.”
Part of the oldest infrastructure in the city is in the downtown area and that needs to be done as part of the Platzl and downtown revitalization.
“Some of the pieces, like the daylighting of Kimberley Creek, are grant dependent, but Boundary St., Wallinger and Kimberley Avenue, all those pipes need replacing. It will cause major upheaval downtown but these are the oldest pipes in town. We have to do it.”
If realignment of some of the downtown streets go ahead, Oakley says there is potential for a waterfront park, which he supports. He also supports the idea of a kayak course in Mark Creek during freshet, as long as building it is not a hit to the taxpayer.
There is still a lot of work that needs to be done to city assets such as the Civic Centre as well, although much work has been done.
“Further through town, we have Forest Crowne and the Nature Park and the Lois Creek trails. they all need an infusion of provincial dollars for interface fire work. Obviously, given climate change, we need to do more.”
Down in the Marysville, the replacement of the sewage treatment plant looms.
“That’s a $35 million plus project. It would be one third provincial, one third federal, one third municipal financing. Our plant is the highest risk in the Kootenays in terms of possible contaminants. We are targeting it in the budget.”
Oakley says he supports smaller lot sizes to give people an opportunity to build smaller homes.
“We need to try to keep Kimberley liveable for all, not like Whistler where only millionaires need apply.
“There is a role for Council on that.”
Overall, Oakley says a Councillor must be pragmatic and watch the pennies.
“I truly love the challenge. But there’s a lot of work still to be done.
“It’s my home and it’s an honour to serve it. My dad was born here. I was born here. I hope people will support me.
“If people want to have conversations (..or yell at me…whatever their preference!?) they can connect with me at my 2018 election email at : firstname.lastname@example.org or they can get a hold of me via my city email as well.”