In what was likely a record for councillor reports in White Rock, Louise Hutchinson wrapped up her final council meeting earlier this month with suggestions for incoming politicians, and parting goodies for those she has worked with over the past three years.
Noting a promise she made last month to “make a lot of noise” before the end of the term, Hutchinson – the only incumbent not to seek re-election Nov. 15 – proceeded with what she described as a “theatrical performance.”
Over the course of about an hour at the end of the Nov. 3 meeting, assisted by a powerpoint presentation, Hutchinson touched on issues ranging from monster homes and greenspace, to the loss of two council mates and the opportunity White Rock has to market its ravine trails as recreation comparable to the North Shore’s Grouse Grind.
“Is better possible?” she said.
An advocate of the arts, she said she envisions jazz on the roof of the renovated washroom building on Marine Drive near Oxford Street; acoustic performances in the covered entranceway of the Centre for Active Living; and string quartets near the Eve Bene butterfly garden.
“I hope Eric’s making notes,” she quipped, referring to leisure services director Eric Stepura.
She said a waterfront parkade is still viable, along with non-resident parking decals – the latter was tested over the 2012-’13 winter season, then shelved due to lack of interest – and reiterated her belief that large transit buses do not belong in White Rock.
The statement last month, during a meeting of the Johnston Road Improvement and Beautification Task Force, raised some support but also the ire of several citizens who wrote critical letters on the matter to Peace Arch News.
“I still believe that large buses are not necessary in White Rock,” Hutchinson told her council peers, suggesting community shuttles would be more appropriate.
From a treat bag, Hutchinson doled out various “gifts” to city staff, including a circa-1990 copy of the city’s Official Community Plan for director of planning and development services Karen Cooper, and a magic wand for financial services director Sandra Kurylo.
She packaged up her “mint-condition” city-issued iPhone for IT manager Chris Zota.
Her council mates were not exempt.
Each received a colour-coded care kit complete with “tools for your trade.” Those included magic pills, a mask and tape (to help them hear, see and speak no evil); a crying towel for when they lose a vote; and magnets, to help them hold onto their ideas and attract others.
“What a way to go out,” Mayor Wayne Baldwin said of Hutchinson’s swan song, before reciting a variation of a well-known line from T.S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men.
“This is the way the term ends, not with a whimper but a bang.”