Kimberley City Councillor Bev Middlebrook has completed one term on Council, and like many of her colleagues found that first term an intense learning curve.
“The former corporate officer told me he had never in his 30 years working for the city seen a Council come out of the gates and be hit with so many major issues to deal with right away; flume, deer cull and SunMine, as well as many many more city issues. I was up for it and doing so gave me a learning experience immediately.”
Middlebrook says she now enters her second race with three years of education and training in municipal politics, combined with 30 years as Kimberley resident and 10 years of community volunteering.
She cares deeply about Kimberley, she says and wrestles with every decision she makes as a Councillor.
“I don’t take any decisions lightly, some I lose sleep over as it is important to me to make the best informed decision I can make. I won’t please everyone but I have to vote to what I think is the best outcome for our city and the people and the future. I base this on the health and safety of our community, city maintenance needs, future vision and growth, budget, staff expertise, the public’s voice and my education, experience, street smarts and our community culture and values past and present and future.
“I am hoping that this term we can complete the flume and SunMine projects and we can focus on our infrastructure and roads, water and sewer plants etc.”
Middlebrook was the only woman on Council and she feels a woman’s voice is important.
“I would welcome more women on Council, after all we are half the population in this community and should have half the voice. We have a lot to offer — studies do show that women in general have strong communication skills and we can have different perspectives.”
Middlebrook says Kimberley is changing but it’s important to hold onto its history as we move forward.
“I feel the reasons people want to move to Kimberley and live here are not only the beauty and recreational activities but also the friendly, fun culture of the community. As long as I can remember, that has been the atmosphere of the community pre and post-Cominco. I don’t want to ever lose who we are and where we have come from, as it is our history that has made this community what it is today, a great place to live.”
Middlebrook has a long history with non-profits, such as the Spark Youth Centre, and she says while it is tempting in times of tight budgets to target non-profit support as an easy way to save money, that would be a mistake.
“I really believe in our community non profits, especially for youth. The non profit groups have always been the fiber of this community, volunteerism is one of our major strengths. I think that our events, groups and organizations is part of our appeal; a fun and healthy life style. Yes the city has a limited budget and community grants have to be looked at and analyzed. However this system has to be fair for all. The most disappointing decision that was made by Council, while I had to leave the room due to conflict of interest, was the target put on the Youth Society’s grant. It was the only non profit, out of many that received a city grant that was pulled out of the list by some councilors and cut by $5000 off the $25,000 and never put back.
The next year it was voted to take away all the money. That would have been the end to the longest lasting youth centre in the province. The two issues that bother me to this day over this are one, if we are going to put one non profit under the microscope and judge, we get the facts and we do it to all, not just one. We need a fair, just system. Two, yes we need to cut costs and respect the city’s budget and tax payers but will cutting $5000 from the youth society, that looks after the safety of our youth at risk, really make the place to do it? The Society owns their own building and asks the city for no maintenance costs. Where are our values, what does this show our youth? The fact that the youth centre is open on $20,000 a year and has been making it for 20 years is a testament to its resilience and dedication of the tax payers support.”
As a longtime resident of Marysville, Middlebrook feels she should advocate for it, and one of the things she would like to see is the Rails to Trails between Kimberley and Marysville lit at night.
“Since we are part of Kimberley community, it is a issue for me that there is no safe way of going home at night unless it is a paid fare. I feel that a grant should be written for a lighting a safe way home.”
“I believe I am a well rounded person that loves to learn and grow. I offer my extensive skills, education, knowledge and community history and creative problem solving. I have lots of energy to draw upon and many community interests. I care about business, employment, wildlife, nature, environment, infrastructure, arts, youth, recreation, low taxes, the cities team and the public. I want to listen when people speak to me as that is who I will be representing, to the best of my ability, if elected again. If you care about this community please come out and vote.”