Revelstoke city report, 2018
Mark McKee looks back on his years of public service in Revelstoke
Mark McKee has certainly done his bit as a community leader in Revelstoke—he served on city council for nine years, and as mayor for 10 years in three non-consecutive terms.
We spoke with McKee in late September to get a bit of a retrospective on his time in office and his take on what’s ahead for Revelstoke. Here is a recap of what he said:
On the job:
The pressures of what’s happening in Revelstoke are greater now than they were four years ago, so the new mayor and council will have some challenges.
When you’re in municipal politics, you’re there to represent the whole community. It’s important that council has a good feeling for the pulse of the community in general—its wants, needs and concerns—instead of what the vocal few might be bringing forward. A lot of the decisions that are made have long-term repercussions, some of them potentially drastic. It’s council’s job to look at both the short and long term, and City staff’s job to provide council with enough information to make those decisions.
"We’ve been so wrapped up in the day-to-day operations, and all the crises that have come up, that it’s been difficult to do long-term planning," McKee said. "It’s frustrating. We’ve had staff shortages that have led to decreased efficiency in some of our departments, creating time delays in getting permits and applications dealt with."
On the city:
People move to Revelstoke because of the lifestyle and the sense of community, and it’s the City’s responsibility to make sure that the type of development that’s coming in fits with the vision of the community for the future. We’ve seen great interest in growth, and while that’s good, it’s made the community less affordable than it was. It’s put a strain on businesses that need workers—it’s far easier to find customers than it is to find workers, and there’s no quick solution for that.
Another ongoing challenge is the infrastructure deficit—how to provide the services that are needed for businesses to survive and residents to stay. One of the processes is Development Cost Charges (DCC), and that will have to be dealt with by the incoming mayor and council. About $70 million in DCC projects—projects related to growth—have been identified for the next 15 to 20 years.
"I believe that Revelstoke is going to see huge amounts of growth, and we need to be prepared for it," said McKee. "The longer we put that off, the more complex it gets."
On the accomplishments:
There have certainly been some high points for this council, like watching things we’ve planned become a reality. We’ve done some major projects in the community, including the Big Eddy water system, the Thomas Brook annexation and the sewer and water there, and the traffic roundabouts. Our skate park will be finished any day now.
There’s been a complete turnaround in how Revelstoke is seen as a viable place to vacation, to live and to have businesses.
“I’m appreciative of the time I’ve spent in this office and proud of what we’ve accomplished,” McKee said. “It’s been a great experience, but it’s a big job and I’m ready to move on to other things.”