It was the final meeting at city hall for a city councillor who served Chilliwack for almost two decades.
Coun. Chuck Stam said he was humbled Tuesday as colleagues around the council table shared an outpouring of fond goodbyes.
Mayor Sharon Gaetz said she wanted to single out Coun. Chuck Stam before the term expired.
“I want to wish you, and I know staff wishes you, a wonderful retirement from public life,” Gaetz said.
The post-council life will mean the end of answering frantic questions, and instead of reviewing the jam-packed council agenda on a Friday afternoon, maybe he can enjoy a glass of beer, she said.
“Thank thank you for all your wisdom and gracious ways and the time you spent giving of yourself,” Gaetz said. “You gave with all your heart and city hall is always open to you.”
Coun. Sue Attrill said Coun. Stam has “always been there” to help his teammates.
“I have an immense amount of respect for your integrity and leadership,” Attrill said, adding she always looked forward to seeing Coun. Stam on council nights. “Thanks for everything you have done.”
Coun. Jason Lum quipped: “I thought this was going to be a Chuck roast, but I guess I’ll save that for another day.
Lum told the story of being a rookie councillor and disagreeing with Coun. Stam over a particular issue.
“I was nervous about voting and you came up to me and said I shouldn’t ever be worried about having a healthy disagreement,” Lum recounted, adding he was told by Coun. Stam to vote with his heart and his conscience.
“That stuck with me…They were wise words then and I took it to heart, and I am certainly going to miss you,” Lum said.
Coun. Chris Kloot thanked Coun. Stam’s family for sharing him all those years, and said he’d be sad to see him go.
“Your dedication, your passion has left a solid foundation,” said Kloot, “so a huge thank you.”
Coun. Ken Popove said he was inspired to serve as a councillor in part by Coun. Stam’s encouragement, and he often relied on his knowledge and years of experience whenever he was stuck on an issue.
Some adjectives he chose to describe Stam: “Leadership, wisdom, trust and commitment.”
Coun. Sam Waddington offered “hats off” to Coun. Stam for his “long and distinguished” time serving council, and thanked him for his “time, patience and dedication.”
And when his colleagues were done, Coun. Stam said a few words.
“Thank you, I feel a little humbled,” Stam said.
He said when he started on council the population of Chilliwack was 40,000 and now is nearing 100,000, and it is with a sense of pride that he contends that despite the growth, “Chilliwack has some of the most generous people” who give back, who answer the call for help, who pick up the slack and step up.
“People are there to help. And where council gets praise, it’s good to remember that there are so many incredible people in our community.”
He thanked Mayor Gaetz for being gracious even if they didn’t always agree. He said their greatest asset was the staff, who are some of the best at what they do, and he thanked them, as well as residents for “being gracious” when they came to city hall to offer their point of view.
Stam said if anyone is asked to serve, “do it,” he said about sitting on council. “It’s great and offers more positive than negative.”
“Last but not least I thank my wife Heather and my children,” he said, adding his teenaged kids didn’t even exist when he started on city council.