Josie Osborne took this selfie outside of the polling station at the Friendship Centre in Port Alberni on Oct. 24.

Josie Osborne took this selfie outside of the polling station at the Friendship Centre in Port Alberni on Oct. 24.

Ucluelet mayor excited to work with familiar new MLA

Mayco Noel looks forward to working with Tofino’s former mayor Josie Osborne in her new role.

Ucluelet mayor Mayco Noel was excited to see Josie Osborne elected to the provincial government on Oct. 24 and said expectations are high for what she’ll be able to achieve in her new role.

“She’s got a lot of work ahead of herself,” Noel told the Westerly News. “The people have spoken and now it’s time for Josie to deliver.”

He said he was not surprised to see Osborne win the Mid Island Pacific Rim MLA seat, noting her BC NDP predecessor Scott Fraser served as the region’s MLA for 15 years before announcing his retirement in September.

“This is a heavy NDP riding and doing the switch from Scott over to Josie was a strategic plan for the NDP, so I’m not surprised that she won and I’m happy at the fact that I have an MLA that I feel I have a very good professional relationship with and am able to have real conversations with,” he said. “At the end of the day, municipalities and people like myself need to have sound relationships with their MLA in order to cast the community in the direction it needs to go. If you have municipal leaders butting heads with their local MLA or the party in charge, you’re not going to get anywhere.”

He added that he hopes and expects Osborne will keep a closer ear to Ucluelet’s requests and needs than her predecessor, suggesting Fraser was often tough to get a hold of.

“For one, I have Josie’s cell number for text messages; I never got that out of Scott Fraser…It was really, really, cat and mouse trying to get Scott Fraser’s ears, that’s just the way that he structured it. I know that my professional relationship that I have with Josie is going to continue on in her role as MLA,” Noel said. “We’re going to send her a letter and we’re going to let her know the few provincial grants that we’ve applied for and are going to apply for and just bring her up to speed on where we’re going. As a mayor, there were different conversations that her and I never really engaged into but, as our MLA, it will be really important for her to understand the direction that this council is going and some of the things that we hope to achieve in the coming months.”

He added that Osborne’s NDP party received a resounding mandate on election night, which means expectations will be high for the party’s coming term in power.

“This government has been elected wholeheartedly across the province and people have very high expectations,” he said. “I don’t think the bar has ever been set higher before with regards to expectations and some of the big problems that we have, from old growth forests to the opiate crisis to COVID-19 and it just goes on and on and on…It’s going to be a challenge and there’s also the indigenous component and I really hope they make some better headway locally about that and we can move forward.”

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READ MORE: Tofino expected to wait until New Year to elect new mayor after Josie Osborne wins provincial seat

READ MORE: NDP Josie Osborne declared the winner in Mid Island-Pacific Rim riding

READ MORE: Tofino mayor Josie Osborne seeks B.C. NDP nomination for Mid Island-Pacific Rim

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