Community Comment: First year on council a steep learning curve

"Tough choices had to be made, but that is what being on council is about."

It has been about a year since I was sworn in to office and it has been a real eye opener. I have had an interest in politics for a while, but really did not know what to expect when I put my name forward. Even though we have some experienced people, it was and continues to be a steep learning curve.

The Imagine Montrose and our Strategic Plan were already under way and council was just about to be brought in to work on it.

The meetings, events and training sessions seemed to be piling up. It was around this time that I realized that a lot of meetings were being scheduled for daytime, during the week. I work a full 5 and 2 day shift, which means the only way to attend these meetings was to take vacation time from work. This meant that I would have less vacation time to take with my family.

Tough choices had to be made, but that is what being on council is about.

Over the year there have been a number of issues that have come up that we have had to work through. We had a change in CAO (thankfully the replacement was familiar with Montrose and the job), a difficult building plan issue, electric fence bylaws as well as other issues.

You realize very early that even though you are only one vote, you are a voice for the community and you need to stay true to your beliefs.

Through the year we had a very successful Family Fun day, we started work on a Community garden and the Region signed a new recreation agreement with Trail. Positive things are happening.

As we look towards next year we do have some difficult decisions to make as infrastructure is always aging and we need a plan to be able to fund the upgrades that will always be needed. Since we own and operate our core infrastructure we do have an advantage as we have control over what can be done. We do however have something to look forward to next year.

Montrose is turning 60 next year.

This means that we are planning a bigger and expanded Montrose Family Fun day. For the coming year Recreation will be part of my portfolio, however all of council will be heavily involved with it. We want to make this anniversary a big one and have increased the budget and we are trying to get as many people involved as we can.

These events depend on volunteers to make them successful, anyone that wants to help can get information from the Village office or they can email me at thesteeps@hotmail.ca. Also if you know of anyone that used to live in Montrose, go to school here or grew up here, please let them know about this event and invite them home…a home coming…so to speak. The main event will be on Saturday June 11, with other events happening on the Thursday and Friday night.

Let’s make the 60th year the best one yet.

Rory Steep is a councillor for the Village of Montrose

Community Comment is an opportunity for elected officials from our local municipalities to update citizens in the region on the events, plans and progress in their respective communities. Every Friday, the Trail Times will present, on a rotating basis, a submission from councils, school trustees or regional district directors.