Leading Creston into the future
Creston’s mayor Ron Toyota has won a third term to continue working on initiatives with a new council
Ron Toyota, the mayor of Creston, B.C., has returned to serve a third term. The town had only one returning councillor in the recent elections, and Toyota looks forward to working with a new group and continuing to move the community forward. As he starts the four-year term, Toyota took time to tell Kootenay Business about his plans.
What was your motivation for seeking re-election for the office of mayor?
I’ve served two terms, six years. During that period we’ve had two good councils so that we were able to do a lot of progressive and positive things for our community. Really, it’s about leadership. It’s a council of seven. I have one vote, so it’s important that we have a strong council. The previous two councils were very good, very little change. This time we had almost a complete change. We have five new councillors—one incumbent was re-elected, and then myself as the incumbent mayor. (So the motivation is in) continuing to move forward in a positive way, to enhance our community. And when I say community I mean the entire Creston Valley. The Town of Creston is our jurisdiction, but if we don’t move and involve the entire Creston Valley we won’t go anywhere. That (initiative) has been very positive and we would like to continue doing that.
What is the character trait that you think will continue to be most valuable to you as mayor?
I would like to think it’s my experience. Having six years under my belt is very good, but prior to that I was in business for 30 years and I would like to think that I have leadership qualities. That’s not just about hammering (things through)—that means being respectful, listening to the people, having an open mind and then working to get a consensus. I believe that’s been a success of our last six years.
What do you think will be your biggest personal challenge in the first six months?
In the first six months I don’t believe there’s going to be any real challenge or issues for me. What the challenge will be with the new council is getting them more or less up to speed and comfortable and then having a common goal, mandate and vision that we want to pursue.
What goal are you most looking forward to working on?
It’s the same one (as before the election). If we talk about a physical one, then it’s the realignment of our highway. Highway 3, right now, goes through our main street downtown. We are in phase one of changing that and that is the railway and Pine (Street) intersection at Highway 3 that has been approved by the Ministry of Transportation. That will happen in the spring. There’s a $5.4-million contract that has been awarded and hopefully it will be completed by June of 2015. That will create a true intersection. Once that is done then we will pursue continuing to realign our highway and get our truck and highway traffic off of our main street.
What’s your go-to leisure activity?
Well, I was born and raised here so leisure-wise I enjoy golf and curling. But my family lives on Kootenay Lake and that’s my main leisure activity. I don’t travel very far because we have the Kootenay Lake to enjoy. Of course, we do have family in different parts of the continent, but enjoying the valley is really the biggest leisure activity that we participate in. . . . I’m still out curling in league—I curl once a week. And then with golf I try to get out two or three times a week when it’s in season.