January, the month of new beginnings –really? Not entirely. Nothing new happens under the sun and nothing new will happen this year that does not have roots in or a foundation on something that has gone this way before. What does our foundation for 2013 look like? Is it made of straw, wood, stone, reinforced concrete? Will it burn up in the heat of economic turmoil or be buried under the business of the day? Can we depend on it to support our plans for the coming months?
Have a quick look at some of the foundation blocks shaped, fitted, and laid in 2012 that will be put into service as a solid working base in 2013.
- A cohesive Council: The new Council experienced its baptism in 2012 and has developed into an effective work unit. We don’t always agree on the issues of the day but in our disagreements we respect one another and the outcome of the vote. Result: an environment that allows Administration and Staff to work to capacity in the knowledge that no one will be blindsided or knifed in the back.
- Boundary expansion: An oversight in 1996 resulting in a loss of tax revenue to the District of Chetwynd came to light in 2012. Discussions were begun with the Ministry early in the year resulting in Chetwynd’s receiving direction on how to proceed to redress the issue. Administration has moved rapidly to take the process through its steps ahead of the provincial election. If all the parts of the process can be brought together ahead of the election shut-down, the boundary expansion efforts should succeed in 2013.
- Right-in, Right-out: Development of plans for the right-in-right-out approach to the Rec Centre has been in the works for several years. In cooperation with the Peace River Regional District and with a major grant from the Ministry, the funding was put in place two years ago. Final discussions for collaborating with the Department of Highways occurred just last week and the project will be completed during the 2013 construction season.
- Municipal Office: Years ago Council recognized that the present office facility was in need of replacement. Three years ago a fund was established for building a new office. In 2012 Council voted to begin construction in 2013. Field, Field, and Field of Grande Prairie has been contracted to provide architectural services and construction is planned to begin in 2013 with completion in 2014 and grounds work finished in 2015. This new Municipal Hall will attractively dress up the intersection of Hospital Road and North Access Road. Part of the old office building will be demolished and the useable portion will be put to other uses.
- Other: Two industrial developments, a Bio-energy plant by West Fraser and a Wood Pellet Plant by Pacific Bioenergy have been discussed with the District of Chetwynd during 2012. Chetwynd is positioned to provide services as required and at the cost of the developers.
Welcome to 2013!
Merlin Nichols, Mayor