By ROY WOOD
As soon as next week, Oliver residents may see some action on an election promise to deal with worries about crime in the community.
Mayor Martin Johansen said in an interview this evening following his swearing in that his top priority is establishing a Coordinated Enforcement Committee to begin working on crime in Oliver.
Such a committee was major part of the campaign that led to his defeating long-time incumbent Ron Hovanes in last month’s civic election.
Johansen’s vision sees a committee including people from the community, the RCMP, the fire department, Interior Health, private security and bylaw enforcement.
“I want to get people’s input on what they are seeing out there,” he said. “I really think that (by) getting all those people together, there will be will be some stuff come out of that.”
Johansen said he would like “to get the group established before budget time. …maybe there’s an opportunity to increase bylaw enforcement.
“I want to make sure that whatever we do we’re not just guessing, to get some information and some data,” he said.
He suggested the committee will could come up as soon as next Tuesday’s regular council meeting.
At tonight’s inaugural council meeting, all the members were sworn in, including new Councillor Aimee Grice and new Water Councillor Parminder Sidhu. Incumbents Larry Schwartzenberger, Petra Veintimilla, Dave Mattes and Rick Machial returned to their seats.
Meanwhile, Johansen confirmed that he will cut back to part time his hours as manager of building services in the City of Kelowna.
“I just got a list of meetings and events that I need to attend (as mayor), so I’ll be putting those in my calendar and I’ll be working around them,” he said. “My priority is serving the town of Oliver.”
He said he and the other newbies had an orientation session today, where he “learned some interesting things about Oliver.”
“I’m going to spend my first month listening and asking a lot of questions. … I have some ideas and some thoughts, but I want to see how they are going to fit in. (I want to) get to know my fellow councillors,” said Johansen.
“We’ve got a good crew here. I’m very optimistic we’re going to be able to do some good things for the town of Oliver.”