Bennest steps down as member of council
By ROY WOOD
Jack Bennest, the occasional curmudgeon of Oliver town council, is resigning after 17 years as a councillor.
In a note to Mayor Ron Hovanes and members of council, Bennest said: “Please accept this brief letter – my resignation as a member of Town Council effective September 30th.
“It has been a good run of almost 17 years – time to re-center, as age is taking its toll. If I were asked, ‘Why are you resigning?’ I would put it simply: ‘the fun seems to be gone out of local politics.’”
Asked by a reporter at Monday’s council meeting to comment on Bennest’s resignation, Hovanes read the letter aloud and added: “We accept Councillor Bennest’s resignation … and we sincerely thank him for 17 years of service to the community and the town of Oliver.
“He has helped it grow in many positive directions and we honestly appreciate the service he’s given to our community.”
Councillor Larry Schwartzenberger said: “I obviously respect Councillor Bennest’s decision. He’ll be missed. He was always a great advocate for Oliver and protecting the corporation.
“I always felt his knowledge over the last 17 years was a great asset as we made decisions around this table. … I wish him well in whatever he chooses to do going forward.”
Bennest was the most likely of members of council to bridle at what he saw as the bureaucratic process of civic government and attitude of senior staff.
He spurned some of the rituals of council meetings, particularly the “councillors’ reports” section of the agenda, when his colleagues proudly list all the meetings and functions they had attended since the last council meeting. Bennest’s report was often simply: “All the required meetings.”
Hovanes said later Monday that provincial regulations require a by-election to fill Bennest’s spot at the council table. An election officer will be appointed at a special meeting of council next Monday.