Paradise Mayor Dan Bobbett says despite the challenges of 2020, most obviously January’s massive snowfall and the global COVID-19 pandemic, life in Paradise has carried on.
“Staff quickly adapted,” said Bobbett. “I want to commend staff, above all, for allowing us, as a town, to adapt those services and allowing us to roll those out to our residents. I’ll say it again, I commend staff for stepping up and meeting that challenge, and allowing the town to run as effectively as we did.”
Mayor Bobbett said that, as per the strategic plan implemented in 2019, the Town looked to use technology to both communicate with residents better and conduct business. The process was fast-tracked by Covid social distancing rules, which forced much of the town’s business to be conducted in a digital format online.
“Because of COVID, we had to do that way faster, and we did. Staff did rise to the challenge and adapt all the services that we needed to make sure the business continuity of the Town carried on,” said Bobbett. “That was very good to see. Staff adapted with inventiveness with the electronic medium to be able to do virtual site visits, and permits, and inspections. So, the business part of the town had to go on.”
Overall, said the mayor, town services carried on pretty well as usual.
“We were able to provide the core and essential services, and adapt to the circumstances, whether day-by-day or week-by-week, to meet those guidelines,” said Bobbett. “Recycling was cancelled for a while, but then staff developed a standard operating procedure whereby people could come through the Paradise Double Ice Complex and drop off their recyclables.”
Despite the challenges, Bobbett said residents also adapted well to the changes.
“People were carrying on, and adapting to those restrictions. Life goes on, as they say, and you adapt, you adapt as a community, said the mayor.
The Town recorded over 70 permits for new homes this past year, Bobbett pointed out.
“Major projects, like Paradise Road, continued on, and we developed a new standard operating procedure for putting out tenders online, and companies filled those tenders, like the one for Tilting Place Lookout,” he added. “And we did public consultations, with social distancing in mind, either through Zoom or with whatever the maximum was that was allowed to meet (in person).”
Community groups and sports leagues and school programs also managed to adapt to new guidelines, said Bobbett, recalling in particular conversations between the Town and the Paradise Youth Soccer Association.
“When start up started for soccer, we had a big meeting online with all of council and the soccer association through Zoom to help make sure that we as a Town abided by the guidelines, and that the Soccer Association were abiding as well, and I commend them for running their programs under a pandemic,” said Bobbett.
The highlight of the year though, according to the mayor, was seeing the people of Paradise come together in times of adversity.
“The big, shining moment of 2020 was how everybody came together as a community,” said Bobbett, who encouraged residents to keep up the good work in the coming year. “Stay safe, listen to the public health guidelines as Dr. Janice Fitzgerald rolls them out… Be strong, stick together, we’re all here to help one another… We’re very excited about moving forward. While 2020 was a very tough year, we adapted to it.”
Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News