Ucluelet is under new leadership for the next four years.
During the inaugural meeting of council on Nov 1., Ucluelet’s new mayor Marilyn McEwen took her Oath of Office alongside council members elect Jennifer Hoar, Shawn Anderson, Ian Kennington and Mark Maftei. The Oaths were administered by Ucluelet’s CAO Duane Lawrence.
Ucluelet First Nation Samantha Touchie opened the meeting up with a welcome prayer in Nuu-chah-nulth language.
“I’m asking the creator to look down on us and to watch over us. To give us strength and to lead us in the right direction. To lead us in the right direction for the people in the town of Ucluelet,” said Touchie.
Mayor McEwen acknowledged that Ucluelet council meetings are held on the traditional territory of the Ucluelet First Nation. She expressed gratitude to the traditional caretakers of the land and waters.
“Our longstanding relationship is build upon mutual respect and many individual and personal ties. Over the next four years and into the future, we commit to continuing to broaden and strengthen this relationship to better the lives of all community members,” said McEwen.
In her subsequent Mayoral Speech, McEwen thanked her fellow councillors, her life partner and district staff. She said she attended a powerful event at the Ucluelet Community Centre on Oct. 29 that focused on the impacts of Japanese Canadians during World War II and delved into what the impacts were on the First Nations and the settlers communities after their removal.
“My big take away from that day is that we are all one people who live in this beautiful place and what happens to one group effects the others. It’s not us and them and them, it’s just us. And that spirit of collaboration is what I want to focus on going forward this term,” said McEwen.
She invited Ucluelet First Nation government president Charles McCarthy up to the podium to give a speech.
McCarthy said he is seeing more a sense of community and that Ucluelet and Ucluelet First Nation are working together to achieve common goals.
“We see that through the naming of the streets within Ucluelet and all those things. They might seem trivial to certain people, but for us it’s a acknowledgement that we are not going anywhere. We never were and we’re here,” said McCarthy.
As their first order of business, council appointed Mayor McEwen to the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District board with councillor Maftei acting as alternate.
Councillor Hoar was appointed as the trustee to the Vancouver Island Library board with councillor Anderson acting as the alternate.
Council went on to rescind former Mayor Mayco Noel’s appointment as authorized signatory for the District of Ucluelet and appointed Mayor McEwen, councillor Hoar, CAO Lawrence, and CFO Donna Monteith as the District of Ucluelet’s authorized signatories.