Lantzville Mayor Jack de Jong is taking his first step into the political realm and is eager to address important issues in the community.
About 70 people attended Monday's inaugural council meeting to see the mayor and councillors sworn in.
De Jong said he’s looking forward to working with council to address important issues in the community.
The 74-year-old retiree, whose background is in telecommunications, is spending his first week in office getting up to speed. He’s meeting with staff to learn where the district is in terms of water negotiations and what options are available to support small business.
“I’ll be looking into negotiations, where we stand and what progress has been made,” said de Jong.
The new mayor said there are many important issues in Lantzville – water, an aging population and the need for seniors housing, a limited tax base to maintain infrastructure, ensuring sustainability and revitalizing the downtown core.
The mayor wants to work to legalize secondary suites to create more rentals, which he says would help seniors, students and young adults.
He also plans to consult with staff to find out whether the district can help small businesses.
“There are a lot of vacancies, that’s not good in terms of community,” said de Jong. “Small business needs to be supported.”
He also wants to help clean up the village core and create more accessibility, noting there are poles in driveways and other unsightly issues to be addressed.
During the first meeting of council Brian Dempsey was appointed as the municipal director on the Regional District of Nanaimo board and de Jong was named alternative director. Councillor Joe Bratkowksi was reappointed to the Vancouver Island Regional Library board and Andrew Mostad was named alternate director.
Former mayor Colin Haime and former councillors Doug Parkhurst and Warren Griffey did a lot of work for the community and also need to be recognized for their contributions, de Jong added.