With 2020 being the year we would all like to forget, we asked our rural mayors and reeves in the Ottawa Valley what they'd wish for in the new year.
“I have many hopes and wishes for myself, the people of Beckwith Township and Canada in general. First of all, that everyone stays safe and we control the virus by social distancing and limiting our number of contacts. I wish that the majority of Canadians get vaccinated for COVID-19 and that youth can resume a normal childhood creating wonderful memories that last a lifetime in school, sports, birthday parties and just normal play. Childhood is too short and too precious to be interrupted in the cruel way it has been for the past nine months.
“I wish that once the pandemic is over people continue to shop local and buy locally produced food to help with our economic recovery. I hope we come out of COVID-19 as a greener, more environmentally friendly community by continuing such things as working from home, active transportation, reducing long trips and recycling as well as reducing waste.
“For the township, I hope that we are able to move into our new municipal office and achieve zero carbon footprint construction in 2021, a new grader for our roads department and that we are able to resume community events. These events create a sense of community and along with our trails are one of the tools that can help with mental health.” — Reeve Richard Kidd.
Tay Valley Township
“This past year has been a very different one for all of us and one that I am sure will not be forgotten. I would like to thank all of the essential workers who have worked through this pandemic over the last 10 months and continue to do so. As we enter 2021, it is my wish that at some point we are able to get back to the norm, whatever that will look like.
“Some of the projects we will be working on in 2021:
• Complete a service delivery review;
• Five-year review of our official plan, council composition, climate change action plan.
“I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and trust you will stay safe.” — Reeve Brian Campbell.
Drummond/North Elmsley Township
“During this holiday season I wish everyone peace, health, time with loved ones and a prosperous 2021.” — Reeve Stephen Fournier.
Rideau Lakes Township
"What we all want is an end to COVID-19 and a return to a more normal life. I want to see little to no increase in our tax rates for 2021. I want to see our Township Official Plan Update completed in early 2021 and approved by the county. Finally, I want Rideau Lakes to make progress on initiatives in two areas, namely affordable housing and climate change.” — Mayor Arie Hoogenboom.
• Expanded gravel road maintenance activities (doubling our gravel expenditures to upgrade our level of service for gravel roads this year and in the future);
• Recreation committee active and engaged, feasibility study released;
• Rosedale Hall — new playground installed;
• Working on water/sewer agreement with Smiths Falls; the boundary agreement and the airport agreement;
• Working on upgrades to our municipal facilities (moving the projects forward for long term planning). — Reeve Bill Dobson.
• A return to a more normal, post-COVID life;
• Completing and moving into our new Fire Station #3 in the northern part of the Township;
• Increased development in our E-K business park;
• Implementing some of the 60+ recommendations from the 5-Year Plan contained in our recently-completed comprehensive Service Delivery Review; and,
• Continued industrial investments throughout the region. — Mayor Brant Burrow
Yona Harvey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Smiths Falls Record News