Friday, November 28, 2008

Farewells and memories in Port Edward

"Ten per cent of what Ed has done ... that's what we should all aspire to be." -- Former Prince Rupert councillor Tony Briglio outlinging some of the traits of former Port Edward Mayor Ed Wampler...

The final session for the session for the district of Port Edward council took place on Tuesday night, a night that was complete with farewells to departing councillors and heavy on memories of the long time fixture of the District who was the architect of much of what the District has achieved.

Beyond the heart felt thanks to councillor Christine MacKenzie for her service to the community, the night was filled with the memories of Ed Wampler, the former Mayor who passed away this fall.

The entire Port Ed council was on hand for the commemorations as well as a number of Prince Rupert council members who were in attendance to share their own memories of Mayor Ed and his steadfast dedication to Port Edward and the North coast.

The Daily News featured a review of the night's commemoration in Thursday's paper.
Port Ed council awash in tearful farewells
By Patrick Witwicki
The Daily News
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Pages one and three

It was an emotional night inside Port Edward council chambers Tuesday evening. And by the time Mayor Dave MacDonald asked for adjournment, there wasn't a dry eye in the building.
In similar fashion to what transpired at Prince Rupert City Council Monday evening, Tuesday was all about change.

But it also felt like the end of an era, as the new council prepared for life after former mayor Ed Wampler, who passed away in September.

Council also offered heart-felt farewells to outgoing councillor Chistine MacKenzie, who ran for the mayor's position and lost out to MacDonald.

"You took a lot of the pressure off me when I wasn't there," said MacDonald, before he presented MacKenzie with flowers. "You did a lot for us over the six years."

Coun. James Brown added: "We learned a lot from Ed, and we learned a lot from you ... and you kept us in line."

A teary-eyed MacKenzie replied: "That's what us women do."

But the most emotional presentation of the evening came next, as council prepared to commemorate the life of Wampler, who was Mayor from 1993 to 2005, and a member of Port Edward council for 22 years.

Wampler had said all along that this term would be his last term in office, and the district had been planning to present Wampler with "Freeman of the City" upon the conclusion of his term.
Instead, the district of Port Edward took the time at the meeting Tuesday night to present the Freeman of the City to Wampler's family, many of whom were in attendance at the meeting, including his wife Dolly, and his son Rick.

"This is a hard night for Port Edward," said MacDonald. "We're going to miss a friend ... but we also lost a friend.

"We all have such admiration for Ed. We were hoping Ed would be here for this."
MacDonald then read the inscription on the commemorative plaque.

"Be it known to all persons that the district of Port Edward has proclaimed Ed Wampler a freeman of the city," he said. "This is presented to Ed Wampler for his 22 years of dedicated service to the district of Port Edward."

MacDonald then reminded everyone how much Wampler had done for the district and the North Coast in general.

"We're all proud of Port Edward, and Ed had a lot to do with that," he said. "It was important to Ed that Port Ed was mentioned everywhere we went."

Chief Administrative Officer Ron Bedard added that the wall behind where Wampler used to sit as a councillor would eventually be turned into a commemorative wall celebrating Wampler's life, but that this would have to wait until the roof was fixed.

All Port Edward councilors, including the newly elected Knut Bjorndahl and Dan Franzen, were on-hand, as well as a handful of Prince Rupert councillors and outgoing Prince Rupert Mayor Herb Pond.

"Congratulations to Port Edward for this first step," said Pond. "A wall is a terrific idea, and it couldn't start with a better name than Mayor Ed."

Outgoing Prince Rupert councillor Tony Briglio also had some emotional words to offer in the memory of Wampler.

"Ed's last words to me were 'Tony, I think I did my share.' And I said, 'Ed, you've done more than your share. If I can do even 10 per cent of what you did, I would be a good man,'" said Briglio.

"Ten per cent of what Ed has done ... that's what we should all aspire to be."

Coun. Murray Kristoff summed it up by saying: "(Ed) could have chosen to live anywhere (later in life), but he chose to live in Port Ed. He started things for his family in Port Edward, and he finished things here in Port Ed.

"That meant a lot to me, and that's what makes him special."

Rick Wampler, on behalf of the family, thanked the council for their kind words, and said that it's still tough for the family to deal with the loss.

"I still struggle, we all still struggle," he said. "But we're pleased that everyone received him so well."

The new Port Edward council will be sworn in on Dec. 1.

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