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Youngest councillor resigns

Penticton councillor Wes Hopkin attended his last council meeting Tuesday night, and will officially resign on Friday.

Hopkin, who announced his plans to resign last week, issued a statement at the meeting, which began with him thanking Mayor Garry Litke and fellow council members.

"I would first like to extend my deepest gratitude to yourself and the rest of council," he said. "It has been an honour and a privilege to work with all of you and former mayor, now MLA Dan Ashton, over the past three years. While we certainly have not always agreed I am proud to have been a part of what we have achieved together."

He further thanked the city staff for their dedication and professionalism and especially thanked city manager Annette Antoniak, saying her experience and expertise have been a tremendous asset to the city.

Last but not least he thanked the citizens of Penticton and those who said "Yes to Wes," and supported him three years ago.

In terms of highlights, Hopkin said over the past three years we, (the city), have retired more than $10 million worth of debt, have seen at least $142 million worth of private building investment in the community and have begun the process of rebuilding the Okanagan Lake waterfront and revitalizing the downtown.

He further stated, they have strengthened ties with neighbours by signing new service agreements with the West Bench and with the Penticton Indian Band that will not only generate revenue for the city, but also improve the quality of life and economic potential of those communities and the region as a whole.

"I am proud to have been a part of these and many other accomplishments, and to work with all of you to implement a long term vision for our community," he said.

With the election fast approaching, he also offered this advice, to pay attention and get involved, with voter participation at barely 33 percent in the last election, and to secondly vote for someone who has a positive vision for the community.

Third to vote for someone who believes our best days are ahead of us and not behind us and lastly vote for someone who you believe is thoughtful and professional regardless of their politics.

Hopkin, the youngest council member, who was only 22 when he was elected, concluded by addressing the importance of youth. He used this quote from Sen. Robert Kennedy, made nearly 50 years ago in a speech to South African youth.

"The cruelties and the obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. It cannot be moved by those who cling to a present which is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger which comes with even the most peaceful progress. This world demands the qualities of youth, not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease."

City staff, the mayor and council wished Hopkin, who is leaving to pursue a law degree at the University of Toronto, well and thanked him for his service at the meeting.

Under provincial legislation, a municipality can choose to have a by-election should a vacancy on council arise after Jan. 1 of an election year.

However, when a vacancy on council arises after July 1 in an election year, no by-election is required. Hopkin’s seat, therefore, will remain vacant until the general election on Nov. 15.

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