The youngest member of the Town of Gibsons council, student representative Colten Rockford, attended his last meeting.
On July 25, Coun. David Croal thanked and presented Rockford with a parting gift. In turn, Rockford thanked staff and each council member individually.
As he acknowledged the work of the youth representatives, Croal said, “Having that lens — the eyes of tomorrow — is critical and so important to all of us.”
Rockford’s term included advocating for free transit for students, poverty reduction and more. It was Rockford who mentioned the difficulty students face getting around the Coast. As a direct result of his comment, an adhoc transportation and accessibility advisory committee was formed. (Both the District of Sechelt and the Sunshine Coast Regional District are in the process of joining to make it a regional effort.) Rockford’s efforts have since been highlighted by the Resource Centre’s Do A Kindness campaign.
In his own speech, Rockford recounted the learning experience of joining council, finding himself intimidated by the formality of the environment and its quick pace. But he found more confidence in speaking and representing his peers.
“I deeply hope this council will continue to support [free student transit] here and at the regional district level, because it will empower our youth to get where they’re trying to go, figuratively and literally,” Rockford said.
“Through my experience this year, I've learned and grown so much while trying to give back to the community.”
“The bar has really been raised this year for our students, and I can only commend them for what they’ve done,” Croal said of Rockford’s initiative.
Rockford graduated from Elphinstone Secondary School on June 27.
Cael Read, Rockford’s alternate and the incoming youth representative, also attended the meeting in the council chamber and was presented with a token of appreciation. (Another alternate, Erin, has found her passion on the Search and Rescue team.) He said a report on the June 8 student dialogue will be presented in September.
Croal also thanked the generosity of the Rotary Club, which helps fund the student stipend for the position.
After council applauded his efforts, Rockford removed his name from the plaque holder on his desk, a keepsake of his time on the council.