As of Tuesday evening, Creston has a new council.
The swearing-in ceremony for Creston’s new leadership took place yesterday evening with all six councillor-elects and mayor-elect Arnold DeBoon.
The ceremony took place in the new Emergency Services building that the previous council took great efforts in getting built.
Previous mayor Ron Toyota kicked off the ceremony with a land acknowledgment and quickly moved along, laughing about his upcoming retirement.
“I’m off the hook,’” joked Toyota, who later said it was a very proud moment for himself.
DeBoon stood and took the oath of office, after which he brought up the new councillors.
In alphabetical order, councillors Monique Arès, Keith Baldwin, Denise Dumas, Norm Eisler, Jim Elford, and Anthony Mondia took the oath
In his mayoral address, DeBoon started off by thanking all those who had helped him reach this point.
He thanked his wife, who he jokingly mentioned supporting his politics since he was on the high school council.
He thanked Toyota, who had led the valley for 14 years.
“It’s a tough act to follow,” said DeBoon. “I owe (him) a lot because I learned a lot from (him).”
He thanked all candidates, both successful and unsuccessful, for running.
And finally, he thanked the community that he looks forward to serving.
“Everybody that lives here we serve and we want to serve them well.”
DeBoon said the council wants many things for the valley, such as a safe community, affordable housing, clean water, garbage pickup, job opportunities, and more.
“We also want open communication and transparency,” added DeBoon.
He spoke to further communication with the newspaper and radio station in town.
“We want them to know what we’re doing.”
He said he wants to have an open door for communication for those in the community.
“I want to be a face-to-face mayor, not a Facebook mayor.”
During the emotional ceremony, DeBoon said he was proud to see a new, more diverse council with younger councillors of multiple sexes.
He ended his address with several personal commitments, including a promise to try and wear a small Canadian flag pin every day.
“It’s a tiny gesture, and the flag itself is just a pin that I’ve chosen to wear. It’s small. It means that I feel that we should be united behind our flag without arguing about what that means. And we don’t need to discuss freedom. We don’t need to discuss vaccines, because really, the flag is about appreciating the country of Canada, and I want it to be a symbol of unity, not division.”
Afterward, DeBoon said he was excited to get to work with the new council.
“I think it went very well. It was a thrill to just swear everybody in, and we’ve planned, and prepared for this day.”
“I got to know a lot of them and I know those returning. The other ones I got to know through the election. And we had discussions before they decided to run. And I’m, again, very happy that they’ve been successful.”
DeBoon also commented on the meeting being the first official event in the new building.
“It’s been a long road to get the building finished. Because of the divided community, we had to have enough agreement to build a building, and then COVID hit. So to proceed through those uncertain times was not easy. But the building is basically complete, and soon it will be a very active building in the center of our emergency services. We’re relieved and happy that we’ve gotten this far.”