2017 was kicked off at Town Hall with the annual New Year’s Day Levee. MP Gord Brown and MPP Steve Clark joined many Village residents for the raising of the Westport Sesquicentennial flag and the afternoon social. Later in January, “Sir John A and Lady Agnes” came to the Village for “tea” with us “locals”.
We learned in February that we had again been refused the Ontario Community Infrastructure 3 Grant (OCIF) to complete the build of the new waste water treatment system. A strategy was developed to pursue a meeting with Minister Chiarelli, Ontario Minister of Infrastructure and the Premier.
March was the month to celebrate our Irish roots. We packed the Legion to watch the CBC documentary – The Hannah Project, hosted by producer Brian McKenna, and all were left a little in awe that the ancestors of many of our families survived the journey from Ireland to Canada and eventually Westport. We kicked up our heels at an old fashioned Celeigh in early March, which got us ready for an unforgettable St Patrick’s Day parade and party. Whether you are Irish or not, we love to sing Celtic songs and sing them loud!
April was another month for song – our community choir, Some Kind of Choir, gave two performances with a full repertoire of Canadian favourites. The singing was inspiring and the proceeds went to Rideau District High School music instrument repair fund.
The long awaited meeting with Minister Chiarelli took place in April. MPP Steve Clark, CAO Paul Snider and I met with the Minister and his staff at Queen’s Park. Minister Chiarelli seemed well briefed on Snowfluent and listened to our situation. Paul and I left the meeting feeling optimistic that the Minister had heard us and understood that the Village needed financial assistance to pay for this expensive infrastructure.
Victoria Day 2017 was cause to gather for an afternoon at the Lions Club Beach House where a Victorian Tea was served. Many of the guests wore fashions from 1867, which became important when “Queen Victoria” and her Ladies in Waiting decided to drop by for tea. The Heritage Festival in June was another opportunity to reflect on our past. A very successful day!
Canada Day – July 1st. Miss Fanny Murphy was recognized by Council as our “Senior of the Year”. Such a great selection. And when the announcement was made, Fanny was speechless! The Village celebrations continued throughout the day with many family members coming home for the holiday. Our parade included floats and boys & girls and moms & dads and pets and bikes and a whole lot of fun. Branch 542 of the Royal Canadian Legion and Westport Fire Fighters had special treats and games for the boys and girls at the conclusion of the parade. At dusk, the Canada Day fireworks were once again the perfect ending to our National Holiday.
In August, one major summer event that never fails to bring large crowds to the Village is MUSICwestport. With perfect weather, lots of volunteers and incredible bands, the Westport Arts Council delivered a first class music festival. The Manotick Classic Boat Show was held in August and the harbour was filled with vintage boats. Hundreds of people turned out to learn and enjoy their beauty. Harbour Staff were great Ambassadors.
October 28th was a special day for two reasons – “Ducks” roadhouse was demolished under the supervision of over 200 hundred people who watched the process and the Random Act of Pumpkins, “Light Up Lockwood Park 2017” – a fund raiser for Children’s Wish Foundation – took place. A wonderful day to be part of Westport.
Village Council’s Sesquicentennial project was to relocate the Cenotaph. November 11th dawned clear and cold, with the Cenotaph standing proud under a crisp Canadian flag in its new location in Lockwood Park. Joined by a large contingent of soldiers from Kingston, several hundred members of the public paid their respects to those who had given their lives serving Canada. This was one of the highlights of the year for me.
On December 1, after many months of discussions with Ministry staff, Minister Chiarelli made the long awaited announcement in our Town Hall. The federal and provincial governments were contributing $2.2 million to help pay for the new waste water treatment system. Merry Christmas Westport!
I would like to thank those members of Council and the many volunteers who put their shoulders to the wheels to make all of these events possible this year. I have often said that the backbone of the Village is our volunteers and the proof is evident in this long list of accomplishments.
Changes of personnel at Town Hall this year include our CAO/Clerk Paul Snider beginning in January, Kevin Kardash as the Harbour Master, Patti Mueller beginning in July as our Administrative Assistant/Accounting Clerk and Peter Evans, who assumed the new position of Public Works Supervisor in December. I am thankful for the enthusiasm, commitment and professionalism of our amazing staff.
As we move into 2018, Council looks forward to the commissioning of the new waste water system, new growth due to increased sewage capacity and further developments in Lockwood Park. Thank you for your continued support.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Hope to see everyone at the New Year’s Levee, between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. on January 1 at Town Hall.
Mayor Robin Jones