2020 saw progress in Nipawin: mayor

·3 min read

Despite the challenges that 2020 brought for the Town of Nipawin, Mayor Rennie Harper said she wants to focus on the positive things that were completed this year in Nipawin.

Some significant and much-needed projects have been completed this year at many of the town facilities.

The Swimming Pool @ Central Park saw some upgrades to the change rooms. Work at the Centennial and Jubilee Arena Complex saw upgrades of the lighting system to LEDs, replacing the arena chiller that had failed this year, and purchasing two Zambonis to replace the ageing ones. Replacing the header trench at the Evergreen Centre means they will now be able to have curling ice, Harper said, which was a long time coming but welcome replacement for the town.

This was also a year the town chose to revitalize their murals. Some care and attention was needed to deal for Yorkton artist Rita Swanson to deal with the fading and chipping in some of the long-standing murals in the community.

Even though they were not able to use the spaces the way they would have liked to this year, Harper said, she is happy to see these projects completed, which was no small feat in terms of money and energy.

Even with COVID-19 making it difficult for community members to get out into the community, Harper said she is happy to see the amount of community programming they were able to focus on in 2020.

The new playground at the Pinedale Playground, a joint effort by the town and the Nipawin Kinsmen, has been well used over the past year. The community gardens program was so successful this year that the town is working on expanding the program, Harper said. Produce grown at the community garden was donated to local organizations like the Salvation Army so that everyone had the opportunity to get fresh produce.

New winter programming is allowing people to explore Nipawin using snow trails with snowfeet – mini skis that attach to a person’s boots – and snowshoes, or get out and enjoy things like pickleball at the Evergreen Centre. Part of the goal for this past year has to create a community hub around the Evergreen Centre, Harper said, and she is proud of everything that has been accomplished around that goal.

“We want to help people do as many things in our community as you can and to be proud and to be able to participate themselves. Not just the Town of Nipawin doing the stuff, we want the community to be involved,” Harper said.

This year also saw the opening of the new water treatment plant, a project that has been over a decade in the making for the town, she said.

When COVID first hit, Harper said the council wanted to tackle the issue of water bills and property taxes right away to help with the stress of the pandemic.

“We implemented a hold on water bills, and we kept our taxes low to help our community relieve some of the stress of COVID in 2020. I don’t know what will happen in 2021. We’ll have to see.”

Provincial funding like the Municipal Economic Enhancement Program did allow the town to address certain projects that were matters of staff and community safety. This included upgrades to the Gordon Subdivision lift station and storm management issues on Peters Drive.

For everything that was completed and implemented this year, Harper gives a lot of credit to the administrative staff at the town office who work hard all year long to ensure these projects and programs move forward.

While COVID-19 was a challenge for the town, Harper is proud to see the work that has been done through the Interagency Pandemic Oversight Committee and how that has helped the community stay connected and help each other during this difficult time.

Looking ahead into 2021 and beyond, relationships with community partners will ensure the future construction of the Helipad at the Nipawin Hospital, Harper said.

Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist