Ten years after winning a byelection and serving as Ashcroft’s mayor, Andy Anderson is handing off the reigns.
Whoever that is will be won’t be known until after the votes are counted on Nov. 15.
One thing is sure, however – his involvement in the community will continue.
President of the Ashcroft Chamber for seven years, organizer and promoter of the Mothers Day Fly In and Pancake Breakfast for 15 years (and counting), and “all sorts of little things on the side”, as well as business owner for many years has kept Anderson out in the public.
He says it took a lot of convincing by a lot of local residents to get him to run for mayor in 2004. “I originally had no intention of being a politician,” says Anderson.
But once the idea took hold, so did many other ideas.
“The individual has a lot of ideas,” he said, “but you have to be a team player when you’re on Council.”
He says that one thing he learned after being elected is that things don’t happen fast. “Learn to be patient,” he advises new Council members, “but not too patient or things will pass you by.”
Anderson says he doesn’t regret anything he’s done as mayor. While you’re making decisions, sometimes you’re not sure what the outcome is going to be, he says – like the 26 per cent tax increase in 2011 that came after 12 years of no increase. “It was a tough decision,” he says, “but we’d fallen so far behind.” The town needed funds to repair failing infrastructure.
He says he’d like to be remembered for everything he’s accomplished in office, but the accomplishments that stand out most in his memory are the ones that went in the environmental direction and saved the taxpayers money down the road, like the solar panels at the pool, the sewer plant upgrade, and the dehumidifier at the arena.
His council also brought in recycling and retired the 22 year old garbage truck. The next council will be going through the same process with Water Master Plan once the town is in a position to implement it, starting with a new treatment system. A good portion of that will be covered with grants, he adds.
Ashcroft Terminal took a lot of work, he says, and a fair bit of promoting with his own dime. “The idea was so right in my mind,” he says, we just had to persevere. Now I think it’s going to roll away on its own.”
“You have to be confident in your ideas before you pass them along to others,” says Anderson. “You have your community at heart.”
The mayor’s power is no different from that of Council, he says, but his biggest role is to represent his community well to others.
He says one of his toughest days as mayor was when the tsunami hit Japan in 2011 and the community wanted to help because of its sister city connections. He says he was proud of Ashcroft’s reaction – the potluck supper and fundraiser, and he was proud to be part of it.
He says he’s ready for new endeavours and new challenges, although he won’t say what those are yet. And, of course, he plans to indulge more in his favourite hobby – flying.