PORT McNEILL—Albert Sweet spent 31 years in Port McNeill before finally retiring this month as the town’s treasurer.
Which made him the second-longest serving official at his final Town council meeting last week.
“I thought I’d beat you, but I just couldn’t do it,” Sweet joked to Mayor Gerry Furney, the longest-serving elected official in Canada since being elected councillor and, later, mayor in the 1960s.
Furney and Town administrator Sue Harvey closed last week’s council meeting by presenting Sweet with a parting gift of a framed 16×24 print of Port McNeill.
“Ah, a picture of Gerry!” Sweet cracked, drawing a laugh from councillors before tearing off the wrapping paper to reveal the aerial view of the town and its recently upgraded harbour.
“On behalf of the council and the people of Port McNeill, I’m happy — no, I’m not happy — to be giving you this, because we’re gonna have a tough job replacing you,” said Furney. “Al, take this off my hands; it’s with great reluctance I pass this over.”
Tax exemptions OK’d
Council approved the 2014 tax exemption Bylaw No. 645, 2013, which exempts from property taxes in the coming year six church-owned properties and six more properties owned or operated by social services organizations deemed to serve a public benefit.
Among the properties exempted are those operated by the Royal Canadian Legion, the Guides and Scouts of Canada, Port McNeill Lions Club, North Island Community Services Society, Broughton Curling Club and Broughton Strait Campground.
The bylaw had previously been given first, second and third readings earlier in October.
Tourism ad approved
Council granted permission for $519.75 to purchase an advertisement in the Alaska Milepost Magazine, the comprehensive travel bible for visitors to the state of Alaska.
The motion was brought by coun. Gaby Wickstrom, who noted the ad was a modest two-column, two-inch display ad but that it would be included in a larger ad being put together by Vancouver Island North Tourism.
“The tourism group’s budget, as of Aug. 30, was $12,402, with approximately $2,000 coming out for brochures still needing to be paid out,” said Wickstrom. She added that a Vancouver Island map was going to be included in the publication in the coming year.
Mayor Furney asked whether effectiveness of the ad might be tracked, perhaps through the offer of a free coffee at the town office for anyone who brings in the ad.
“How about we do a free coffee at Tia’s (Restaurant) with the mayor for anyone who brings in the ad?” Wickstrom joked.