Outgoing Mayor Gerry Furney

Port McNeill swears in new mayor, council

PORT McNEILL—Outgoing Mayor Gerry Furney honoured in investiture ceremony after 46 years in elected office.

PORT McNEILL—In what was as much a celebration of the retirement of longtime mayor Gerry Furney, Port McNeill’s new mayor and council were sworn in Monday night before a standing-room only crowd in council chambers.

Incoming Mayor Shirley Ackland was joined by councillors Jay Dixon, Shelley Downey, Aaron Frost and Graham MacDonald in the brief ceremony, which was both opened and closed by Furney — who served on the Town’s first council and who spent 39 years as mayor before choosing not to run for office again this fall.

“This is a day in history,” Ackland said in a room bedecked with photos of past councils, nearly all of them bearing Furney’s likeness. “We’ve been very fortunate to have a mayor as long as we have leading our town and putting us on such a good foundation. As he’s said many times, it’s a job he’s enjoyed, serving this community, because he really cares about all of us who live here.”

Then, turning to Furney, Ackland added, “We hope we do you proud.”

Ackland is the lone returning member from the most recent municipal government, having served the past six years on council. Both Downey and Frost, though, return after previously serving on council — Downey from 2006-11 and Frost from 2008-11. Dixon, the principal at North Island Secondary School, and MacDonald, a small business owner, are first-time elected officials.Incoming Mayor Shirley Ackland, seated, is joined by RCMP Sgt. Craig Blanchard and new councillors Shelley Downey, Graham MacDonald, Jay Dixon and Aaron Frost following their swearing-in ceremony in Port McNeill Council chambers Monday, Dec. 1, 2014

Ackland followed the oath of office by acknowledging town staff, fire chief Chris Walker, RCMP Sgt. Craig Blanchard, North Island MLA Claire Trevena and municipal airport manager Bill Velie, a longtime friend and coffee-shop partner of Furney’s.

Also in the audience were outgoing councillors Grant Anderson and Gaby Wickstrom and various family members and friends of incoming and outgoing officials. Outgoing councillor Chris Sharpe was traveling in Alberta and sent his regrets.

Furney, in turn, thanked, “the lady who gets me dressed,” referring to his wife Carmel. In an unusual twist, perhaps to avoid speaking any further, Furney then offered to adjourn the meeting that he had opened a few minutes earlier.

Frost seconded the motion, and Ackland made it official, putting a stamp on what might have been Furney’s final official public engagement after serving as councillor or mayor for 46 years.

The meeting then broke up into a general meet-and-greet over a cake decorated with the Port McNeill Town flag design, as council posed for photos accompanied by Sgt. Blanchard in his red serge.

Trevena presented Furney with a gift of a copy of her Legislative statement on Furney and the Town of Port McNeill, as recorded during the B.C. Legislature’s session of Nov. 6.

The first official meeting for the incoming council is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 15, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Badinotti makes cash donations to North Island food banks

‘it’s fantastic that they are supporting community organizations like this’

‘A bottomless well of love for people and communities’

Parksville Qualicum Beach News editor JR Rardon dies at age 61

NDP pushing for 10 days of paid sick days for all working Canadians

NDP has made the issue a requirement for their support of the Liberal government

No plans to rebuild Hardy Bay Industrial Centre after fire, owner says

A massive fire burnt down the old building in April

Port Hardy Fire Rescue adapts to new realities amidst COVID-19

Don’t forget to follow Port Hardy Fire Rescue on Facebook.

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

B.C. man with Alberta plates gets car keyed and aggressive note

Some out-of-province people are finding hostile reception due to COVID-19 worries

B.C. drive-in theatre appeals COVID-19 concession rules, 50-car limit

With 50 cars and the removal of concession sales, drive-in owner says theatre might have to close

COVID-19: B.C. grants aim to stabilize sexual assault recovery programs

$10 million fund not yet ready to take applications

Case of missing Vancouver Island woman inspires new true crime podcast

‘Island Crime’ Season 1 covers 2002 disappearance of Nanaimo’s Lisa Marie Young

B.C. mom’s drug-pricing petition on behalf of son garners thousands of signatures

Petition geared to gaining access to new medicines drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

‘Paralyzed by fear’: B.C. woman details anxiety, grief at Italian relief hospital

Sheila Vicic spent two months in Italy as the country grappled with COVID-19

CAMH survey looks at binge-drinking, financial anxiety during COVID

Alcohol may be used as a coping mechanism for those whose careers may have been sidelined due to the pandemic

Half of Canadians say governments are hiding something about COVID-19: poll

More than a third of people believe the virus was created in a lab

Most Read