EDITORIAL – So, we have a brand new mayor and City council – now what?

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

SO WE HAVE A NEW City council. Now what?

The voters have had their say about who they want to guide the business of their City. Question is, where will they guide it?

The priorities are clear: addressing social disorder and healthcare. Neither is technically within the jurisdiction of City Hall. I’m not talking just about Kamloops. In municipalities throughout the province, the issues and priorities are the same.

Municipal councils aren’t supposed to have to worry about such things. They’d rather stick to pot holes, barking dogs and building parks.

In practice, of course, that’s not the way it is. Over the past 20 years, provincial politicians have conveniently downloaded more and more responsibilities onto the shoulders of those who sit around City council chambers.

Some say, with validity, that it actually began when the Province closed down the big institutions and sent their wards out into communities without proper supports. In the case of the Tranquille School psychiatric institution in Kamloops, that closure came 37 years ago yesterday.

It was hailed as a progressive step, but it was poorly implemented. As the years went by, B.C.’s City councils were faced with a dilemma — just say no; resist taking on social responsibilities it should never have been expected to assume.

But that’s not easy when you’re a local representative and see the need, and hear the voices that say, “We don’t care who’s supposed to be doing it, just fix it.”

So, councils plow money into policing. They look for ways to facilitate more social housing. They provide facilities for street folks. They brainstorm on ways to attract more doctors and nurses, even contemplating how to throw their own money at the problem.

In the end, though, Job One for this new council, and other councils, will be pestering their provincial and federal counterparts to step up and do their own jobs. And that’s no small challenge.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9510 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on EDITORIAL – So, we have a brand new mayor and City council – now what?

  1. Robert George // October 21, 2022 at 12:41 AM // Reply

    As the young addicted street gal from Seattle said,” Almost 100% of street people are addicts” There should be manditory rehab facilities for all addicts, permanent lockup for those who do not want rehab,,and 25 years,no parole for those non addicts who are suppliers of hard drugs. I would prefer the death sentence as they are murderers. Many I talk to in everyday life agree on that point.
    Our whole society is off the track of reality and something has to be done,and soon,even if it offends the bleeding hearts amongst us.

  2. Kamloops own Doug Ford.

  3. I’m already looking forward to your version of “Twas the night before Christmas” at City Hall…….
    Will there be sugar plums and mistletoe or perhaps some lumps of coal (carbon taxed, of course)? Who will fill the stockings? What names will appear to best match characters and roles?
    It’s all your Mel.

  4. Pestering? At one time you were supposed to “lobbying”, building long lasting partnerships type approach. You encouraged “go along to get along” mentality as sensitive City staff and all other “staff” may get offended and entrench themselves into even more bureaucratic wrangling. Well, we shall see if a new “in their face” approach will lead to a positive outcome.
    Having a mayor without so called “political experience” will be interesting at the least.
    And having a council basically in the “back pockets” of the real estate fraternity and seemingly without a backbone will also be quite an adventure. Perhaps they will “pester” the creatures of the night to seek refuge elsewhere.
    I sincerely hope the Armchair mayor will be consistently present throughout the journey with shrewd commentary and pointed criticism.

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