Former Cache Creek mayor John Ranta is among the 25 recipients of this year’s BC Community Achievement Award. The announcement was made on April 27, and Ranta says he is very honoured to have been recognized.
“I got the news two or three weeks ago, but they asked me to keep it confidential,” says Ranta. He was told he was being recognized for his 28 years as mayor of Cache Creek, his eight years as chair of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, being on the Union of BC Municipalities executive (including a term as president), and for his involvement in the community.
“These days more than ever, our communities are made stronger by British Columbians who go above and beyond,” said Premier John Horgan when making the announcement. “Thanks go to all of the BC Achievement 2020 Community Award recipients for helping build a better province for everyone.”
Ranta, who served as mayor of Cache Creek continuously from 1980 to 2018, was recognized for making the community more appealing, accessible, and safer for residents while ensuring that taxes remained low and the Village became 100 per cent debt free.
“He helped to create the Landfill Legacy Fund providing ongoing funds for major projects,” said the official release. “Known for his leadership, John’s calm strength and steady voice guided communities through B.C.’s largest wildfires [in 2017] and devastating floods.”
Ranta joins five other area residents who have received the BC Community Achievement Award for their dedication to, and work on behalf of, their communities, including Cache Creek’s Barb Shaw (2004) and Ben Roy (2008). Other area recipients include Clinton’s Robin Fennell (2016), Deb Arnott of 16 Mile (2011), and Ethel Smith of Loon Lake (2014).
“It’s all a continuum; everything is connected,” Ranta says of the reasons behind his nomination. “But the most important things to me have been to be a father to my children and a husband to my wife.
“I told my wife Carmen [about the award] and she thought it was a wonderful recognition, but the involvement in public life has I’m sure taken a toll on my family over the years. I’ve been away from home when I maybe could or should have been home, in order to serve the community.”
Ranta was nominated by longtime Cache Creek resident Wendy Coomber, who says that when she saw the nomination period open last year she tried to think of someone from the community to nominate.
“I racked my brain, and thought ‘Who’s the one name I can think of who’s done the most for the community?’ John, with his long, long, long years of service to Cache Creek, popped into my mind.
“Yes, he was an elected official, but he dedicated so many hours to this town. I thought he was the most deserving person.”
Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon MP Brad Vis congratulated Ranta on being one of this year’s recipients of the award, which he calls well-deserved, and thanked him for his strong leadership in the face of some of B.C.’s largest wildfires and floods during his time as mayor.
“Throughout the course of nearly three decades of service, Mr. Ranta continuously demonstrated his dedication to the residents of Cache Creek, and indeed surrounding communities,” said Vis.
“[His] commitment to financial stewardship, ensuring taxes remained low and clearing the Village of all debt, is to be commended. His work to create the Landfill Legacy Fund has also led to innovations that will ensure better outcomes for families in [the] community for years to come.”
“The mission of the BC Achievement Foundation is to shine a light on excellence, and we encourage others to do the same,” Cathryn Wilson, Executive Director of BC Achievement, told the Journal. “This cohort of nominees is wonderful, and it was great to be able to phone them — especially at this time — and share the recognition with them.
“It was an honour to speak with each of them and share their stories. Every story is different, and every story contributes to building a stronger B.C. We see this year after year.”
BC Achievement is an independent foundation established in 2003, whose mission is to honour excellence and inspire achievement. The BC Achievement Community Award was the first initiative of the foundation, and is now in its 18th year. Nominees for the award are sought from members of the public — who detail the contributions the nominee has made to the community and the reasons for the nomination — from September of each year to the end of the following January. An independent committee then selects each year’s recipients.
The recipients of the 2020 Community Award will be recognized in a formal presentation ceremony in Victoria, in the presence of the Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. Each recipient will receive a certificate and a medallion designed by B.C. artist Robert Davidson. Due to COVID-19, this year’s ceremony — which was originally planned for the end of April — has been postponed, with the date to be announced.
Ranta says he will be attending the presentation ceremony whenever it takes place. “I was there when Ben Roy and Barb Shaw received it.”
He agrees that people should be encouraged to nominate deserving people.
“If there’s someone in your community worthy of recognition, one of the kindest things you can do is to recognize someone who devotes themselves for the benefit of the community.”
Learn more about the BC Achievement Foundation and the BC Community Achievement Awards at www.bcachievement.com.