Members of Pitt Meadows council said a formal goodbye to mayor Deb Walters and councillor Gwen O’Connell at their last meeting, held on Tuesday.
Coun. Tracy Miyashita had to stop several times as she thanked “two very strong women,” as she became too emotional.
“I really admire your heart, and the way you give back to the community,” she told O’Connell, “and I know you will not stop that, because that is who you are.”
Miyashita called Walters inspiring, and appreciated how open she has been in dealing with community groups and citizens.
“I really like how accessible city hall has been,” she said.
There was no acrimony as the three councillors who have frequently locked horns with Walters, O’Connell and Miyashita also voiced appreciation at their last meeting together.
“I wanted to thank mayor Walters and her family for all their service to Pitt Meadows – thank-you very much,” said Coun. Bruce Bell.
Coun. David Murray also thanked his outgoing council colleagues, and offered congratulations to incoming councillors Bill Dingwall and Mike Stark, and to mayor-elect John Becker for their success in the Nov. 15 municipal election.
Coun. Janice Elkerton also said thanks, noting that O’Connell has offered 18 years of service to council.
“Congratulations to all the newly elected people,” offered O’Connell. “You have a challenging four years ahead of you, and I know each of you are very capable and able to handle the job.”
Walters remained mostly stoic through her speech, as she thanked community volunteers, city hall staff, voters, her family, and O’Connell, in particular.
“You genuinely care about the people of this community, and you want to make a positive difference in the lives of others,” Walters said of O’Connell. “Thank you, my friend, for all that you’ve done, and all that you will continue to do.”
Walters continued: “Our city is in great shape fiscally, we have a solid plan in place for future grown and development.”
She congratulated the new council, “and I wish everybody the best moving forward.”
The inauguration of the new council will take place on Tuesday at 6 p.m.