By Lyonel Doherty
The Chronicle caught up to Martin Johansen and asked him to reflect on his first year as mayor of Oliver.
Q: How has your first year been as mayor of Oliver?
A: It’s been an interesting, busy year getting to know staff, citizens, fellow councillors and other local government officials in the South Okanagan.
Q: What has been the most challenging aspect of the job?
A: Putting names to faces! Many times I’m meeting people for the first time and may not see them again for several months.
Q: Most memorable moment so far?
A: Meeting with provincial ministers at UBCM.
Q: How many hours a week do you put into the job?
A: The number of hours per week varies depending on meetings, information to review, requests for feedback, etc. While it’s not a 40-hour week job, it feels like a full-time job.
Q: Has anyone been critical of your decisions so far? What was the issue?
A: So far feedback has been very positive, no issues.
Q: As mayor, what small privileges or perks are you afforded in Oliver? For example, can you park on Main Street all day without a getting a ticket?
A: No perks or privileges.
Q: Most rewarding aspect of the job?
A: Working with council and feeling like we’re making a positive difference.
Q: Do residents ever call you after hours to talk about issues?
Q: Top three accomplishments since elected mayor?
A: Public Safety & Crime Prevention Committee, citizens survey, identifying and moving forward with the best option to repair the Gallagher Lake siphon.
Q: Top challenge facing Oliver today?
A: Getting federal funding to offset the cost for the Gallagher Lake siphon repair project, and preparing to pay for the additional RCMP cost when Oliver goes over the 5,000 population mark.
Q: You made good on your promise to establish a crime prevention committee. What other promises or goals are you working on?
A: Delivering on the priorities of the crime prevention committee, downtown revitalization and fiscal responsibility.
Q: What is your opinion of Donald Trump?
A: Not good, however, my biggest concern is not with Donald Trump. What concerns me more is the increase in partisan animosity in the US two-party system where there seems to be more concern about protecting a political party than doing what’s best for the nation’s well-being.
Q: Any interest in getting involved in provincial or federal politics? A: No.
Q: Many business people believe in the old adage that the customer is always right. Do you agree?
A: Yes, but not always.
Q: What motto, if any, do you try to live by?
A: Whatever you do, do it with excellence!
Q: What worries you most about the future?
A: Climate change and the impact on our children.
Q: What is something very few people know about you?
A: I once went on a mission trip to build houses in El Salvador. Besides building houses, I was also involved in recovery efforts on the same trip due to a massive landslide that wiped out several houses in a small nearby community.
Q: If you had a time machine, would you go back or forward in time. What would you do once you got there?
A: I would go back in time and spend one more day with my mother.