By Lyonel Doherty
Oliver’s new mayor can’t wait to get to work on Town council.
Last week’s inauguration and swearing in ceremony filled council chambers with family and friends who watched each member take their oath of office.
“I’m very excited about it. I think it’s a great opportunity,” said Mayor Martin Johansen. “Getting to meet the councillors; they’re very supportive, and there is some experience here. I think we’re going to achieve some good stuff over the next four years.”
Johansen said he started seriously thinking about running for mayor a couple of years ago.
“I probably read every document that the Town of Oliver has produced over the last couple of years trying to understand the issues.”
Once again, Johansen attributed his election win to people wanting change. “People wanted some fresh energy; some new blood.”
He also noted his qualifications and having a lot to offer as a candidate, with plenty of experience and knowledge of municipal government.
Johansen said one issue he wants to focus on rather quickly is establishing a coordinated enforcement committee to enhance policing and crime prevention in Oliver.
“I’ve been talking about that with council today already, and I did talk to Blaine (Sgt. Gervais) at the RCMP office and mentioned to him that is something I wanted to do.”
Johansen said he needs to understand how policing is conducted in Oliver and the staffing issues that impact that.
“Are we going to get an additional two officers? I want to understand the dynamic of what’s going on.”
The other issue he wants to address as budget time nears is infrastructure and asset management.
“We’ve got to be able to maintain what we have. It’s nice to get out and cut ribbons and build new, but if we can’t maintain what we have . . .”
Yet another issue the new mayor wants to understand better is emergency room staffing at South Okanagan General Hospital and what Oliver can do to retain physicians in this community.
When Johansen is not working, he loves recreation. He coaches hockey, he golfs, he hikes and enjoys hunting as well.
“That’s why I just love Oliver; there are so many amenities here for a small town.”