Jordan Sturdy has some tough decisions ahead. His list of things to do includes finding a part-time residence in Victoria, sorting out his commuting plans between Pemberton and the provincial capital and deciding whether he'll continue his work as the mayor of Pemberton.
Getting a better understanding of his role as a newly appointed parliamentary secretary is key to making a decision about his future as mayor, said Sturdy.
"Parliamentary secretary roles can be very flexible in that they can be very much task oriented, or they can be more liaison oriented or they can be sort of an assistant role as well," he said. "To some degree I think it depends on what the premier has specifically in mind. I'm sure she'll be meeting with the minister and making him aware of what her thoughts are in terms of what my role will be."
The role for Sturdy was announced last week. He will be Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone's parliamentary secretary. According to Sturdy, Premier Christy Clark asked him in advance of the announcement if he'd take on the role and work with Stone, who lives in Kamloops. He noted that Clark pointed out to him that the ministry oversees BC Ferries and there is a ferry terminal in the West Vancouver-Sea to Sky riding.
"She did mention to me that as the minister is not from the Lower Mainland and I have been involved in local government in the Lower Mainland," Sturdy said. "Clearly one of the main issues on the table is transit and transit funding."
Sturdy added that the ministry also oversees air travel and railroad issues.
In addition to his parliamentary secretary role, Sturdy has been appointed by the premier to the provincial Environment and Land Use Committee.
While Sturdy struggles with the mayoral decision he said that he will be stepping down from the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District on June 18. He also said he is going to remove himself from the Pemberton Valley Utilities and Services (PVUS) board of directors.
"In the next couple of weeks I'll be making a decision," he said.
He added that in a small community like Pemberton, it doesn't work for a member of council to take a leave of absence. A number of things could happen if a by-election is triggered by his resignation as mayor. Sturdy said a sitting councillor could win the by-election and then there would have to be a by-election to backfill that council position — all scenarios with significant costs involved for Pemberton.
"I don't know that there is an ideal situation," Sturdy said.
He hasn't ruled out carrying on as mayor and finishing his term if there's agreement that staying on is better for the community than having a by-election.
Whatever happens with the short-term structure of Pemberton council, Sturdy said his goal is to make the transition as smooth as possible for the community with minimal disruption.
"I do have a responsibility to the community as well in that I did not provide notice that this was an option and it really wasn't on the radar," Sturdy said of his decision to seek the MLA job.
Finding a part-time residence in Victoria that is close to the legislative building where he will be working is an immediate priority for Sturdy. Ideally, he said he would like to be able to ride his bike between his workplace and his part-time home.
He added that his Ford F-350 pickup truck isn't an ideal vehicle for commuting between Pemberton and Victoria so he's looking at his transportation situation as he continues his transition into his job as MLA.
"New times and new adventures," said Sturdy of his next few weeks. "It will all work itself out and I'm really excited about it."
Despite all the unanswered questions and uncertainties at this point, Sturdy said he's really excited about the future. He added that his family farm will always be there for him when he decides he can't take politics anymore.