Milobar was a steady captain in occasional rough waters

Two & Out
By James Peters
June 30, 2017 - 4:00pm

KAMLOOPS — As of today, Peter Milobar is officially no longer the mayor of Kamloops.

First elected in 2008, Milobar was the longest serving mayor since amalgamation in 1967, and since incorporation in 1893, his nine year tenure is tied for the longest with John Edward Fitzwater.

Milobar's resignation takes effect today, along with those of Councillors Marg Spina and Ken Christian.

Assessing Peter Milobar's legacy is kind of a tricky thing.

Will his name one day grace a park like Kenna Cartwright, or a square like Phil Gaglardi?

Or will his time in office be remembered with more disdain?

Certainly, if your criteria is transformative, headline-grabbing initiatives for Kamloops, there isn't a whole lot to point to.

Early on, the council led by Milobar championed a multi-million dollar multi-use pathway and bridge connecting Valleyview with the Rivers Trail.

Generally, that's been poorly-received by those who drive past the empty bridge in their cars.

The downtown parking situation has lingered for years, with proposals brought forward by Milobar's councils failing to capture the imagination of the public.

In comparison to the Lorne Street parkade and the hybrid parkade/performing arts centre proposal, the current parking lot on the Daily News property seems like a disappointing compromise.

And this council's patient-to-a-fault approach to KGHM-Ajax has been seen by many on both sides of the issue as an abrogation of leadership.

Take a closer look at Milobar's time in office, though, and the picture emerges of a calm, competent leader.

He has led three councils all bearing stark ideological divides, with none more pronounced than the current council.

Getting them on the same page is a leviathan task unto itself.

Through it all, Milobar has focused on smart urban planning, necessary infrastructure upgrades, and keeping tax increases as low as possible.

His councils have rapidly expanded public transit offerings, promoted community-wide accessibility and opened the door for increased social and health services.

Milobar himself has a cottage industry of critics scrutinizing his every move, but in many ways, couldn't care much less about what they think.

He occasionally approaches the media with cutting sarcasm, but can take as much as he dishes out, and has never failed to be accessible.

If Milobar's provincial political career unfolds like his civic career, he will be remembered as capable, knowledgable, not flashy but steady.

That's not the worst legacy to maintain.

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