Who will be the next mayor of Trail?
It’s too early to even speculate. However, it will not be current Mayor Mike Martin, who confirmed Monday that he will not seek re-election this fall.
“I am making this decision public today to allow the community an opportunity to make some decisions moving forward toward the local government elections that are being held in October this year,” Martin said during afternoon council.
“It is a decision that comes with a wide range of emotions,” he shared.
“Certainly some regret, satisfaction, relief, excitement and a little apprehension … but it will be time to step aside and allow others to carry on the work of the community.”
Following the announcement, Martin emphasized that the job is not over yet – there’s still Silver City Days to host and the “infamous” skate park to build before the term ends.
“So here I am heading to the end of my political role and having the honour and pleasure of being your mayor,” he said. “It is hard to believe that three and a half years could pass so quickly. So much has happened, so many fine people along the way.”
Martin expressed his gratitude and appreciation of the support and guidance from city staff, his peers and Trail residents through his first, and final, term.
“I think we all hope that through our endeavours and our lives we can make some kind of difference,” he said. “Measuring that difference is difficult, but I believe I was able to help move our community forward, and perhaps in that way provide a catalyst for others who will make their contributions to the future success of the City of Trail. I am so thankful and appreciative of the support and guidance of many, and I just want to say thanks to council for all their support and for putting up with me.”
Looking back over his years of service, Martin recalls his greatest challenge being the morphing of what was referred to as the “pipe/pedestrian bridge” when he was first sworn in, to the city’s now popular landmark, the Columbia River Skywalk.
That’s because the project almost never got off the ground.
“The foundation was set but we had to negotiate final arrangements with Warfield and Rossland,” he recalled to the Times. “At times, I honestly felt that we had lost it. And this is where I give council a lot of credit because I’d almost gotten to the point where I felt there was no room to proceed further,” Martin said.
“Yet they convinced me to go back one more time, and that one more time made the difference.”
The other aspect to getting the bridge built was how others rallied around what Trail council was trying to achieve.
“Because we had to get some very quick authority from the provincial government,” Martin explained. “I have to give a lot of credit to Minister (Peter) Fassbender of the day, he was a previous mayor and realized what we were up against, and rallied his organization to help us.”
Once everything was in place, Martin recalls the actual build being an enjoyable part of the job.
“We probably had the most delightful project from the point of view of the designer of the bridge and its contractor,” he reminisced. “Both worked so well together to make sure we had a good product, on budget, at the end of the day. So all in all there’s been many projects along the way, but that one stands out for me.”
Another major achievement that came to fruition during Martin’s time in office was the multi-million dollar advancement of renovations at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital.
“Quite honestly, the other is not directly the City of Trail per se,” he said. “But the exciting upgrades for our regional hospital, we did a lot of work. First of all, we had to get an agreement of the regional hospital district.”
Martin says for the first time, in recent memory, the board was unanimous in its support.
“And then convincing IHA and province that we had to move forward, so it’s great to see that happening.”
At the end of the day, politicking aside, Martin says the job is all about the people.
“It’s all about the fact that I’ve been able to work with so many wonderful people to get things done and so many were so supportive, no matter the issues, ” he reflected. “So for me, it spoke volumes about who and what Trail represents. Given the fact there was a strong desire to see change and to have just so much support along the way to keep things moving forward.”