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Bowen Island's outgoing council has final Monday night meeting

The final Monday night meeting of Bowen's outgoing council on the 28th alternated between taking care of business and receiving accolades from the public.

The final Monday night meeting of Bowen's outgoing council on the 28th alternated between taking care of business and receiving accolades from the public. About 40 islanders, including incoming councillors Tim Rhodes and Andrew Stone, turned out to see the 2008-2011 council off and many addressed mayor Bob Turner and the five councillors present.

Due to an out of town commitment, Doug Hooper was there only by phone hook-up, but the rest, who went to dinner together before the meet, were in the chairs they've occupied for the past three years. After approving the agenda one final time and adopting minutes, they welcomed comments from the public.

"If you're going to be critical you may have the floor for 10 seconds," Turner joked after BIM corporate officer Kathy Lalonde introduced the first speaker. "But if it is admiration and praise, then you may go on and on for as long as you like."

Paul Hooson was the first to express his gratitude to Turner and Nerys Poole, Cro Lucas, Peter Frinton, Alison Morse, David Wrinch and Hooper. Hooson compared the thanks council would be receiving to spotting a dolphin, noting that for each dolphin above water it is said there are 100 more under the waves. For each show of gratitude expressed to council, Hooson said, "easily" another 100 islanders were just as grateful.

"You set the ground work for much of what will happen in the coming years," Hooson added.

Islander Brenda McLuhan noted it is not simply work at meetings, but hours beyond meetings, including having islanders address them about issues in public, in the grocery store or on the ferry, something she herself confessed to having done. She thanked them for their positive tone.

Sue Ellen Fast thanked council on behalf of herself and Dave Witty who was unable to make the meeting. Witty had been the chair of the Official Community Plan committee and worked closely with council. On Witty's behalf she also thanked Turner. "Bowen Island has been well served by his dedicated leadership," she said.

Others expressing their gratitude included Gordon Ganong on behalf of the organization called OneBowen; he noted council's work ethic. Will Husby spoke of council's integrity, calling it a "class act."

Mayor Turner mentioned that many islanders stop him in public to give thanks for the work he and council did, often remarking that it must be a "thankless job." It wasn't, he told the assembled, noting that they all appreciated the many thank-yous they received from the public at large.

"Bowen Islanders are a decent crew," he said. "And representing a community of this much richness is in itself a rich experience."

Council moved on to staff reports and official election results were declared. With regard to the community opinion vote, Turner noted they would be sending letters to support the vote to M.P. John Weston and M.L.A. Joan McIntyre. He will also write to thank Parks Canada for their work during the process.

Turner accepted the will of the electorate and suggested the parks initiative was looking to transform the island into something it was not.

While he acknowledged it created tension in the community, he felt that was "life living in a dynamic, engaged, community."

The meeting concluded with Karen Blow, chief financial officer, who presented a report on the ongoing work of the Bowen Island Municipality to create the 2012-2016 financial plan.

Blow and her staff are in the midst of a comprehensive core services review and intend to make recommendations to the new council on areas to cut costs and where services have the potential to generate increased revenues.

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