I feel very privileged to be your Mayor and remain grateful to the people of Westport for your warmth and friendly support.
I have witnessed first-hand the incredible work people are doing day-in, day-out to support our Village, and this has never been more important than with the OMICRON outbreak. Thank you for your countless community volunteer initiatives and for spreading goodwill throughout our Village with open and generous hearts. We have so many things to be grateful for, including our family, friends, and neighbours. Considering what we have been through the past two years, you continue to keep the safety blanket around Westport.
The Leeds, Grenville & Lanark Health Unit continues to be a leader in the province for its vaccination rate. Thank you to everyone who has been vaccinated. Please get the booster as soon as possible. Our local businesses have been on the front line since March 2020. We take our hats off to you all and I urge Westport residents to SHOP LOCAL and support our local businesses.
It is traditional at this time of year to review the past year and look forward to the New Year, which I do with some confidence. In 2021, Bedford St, which had been referenced as the worst road in Leeds & Grenville, was refurbished. New sidewalks, the road levelled out and no more pot holes. Thank you to the provincial government who covered 93% of the cost of work.
We hosted two vaccination clinics at the WTC Communications Centre and it took many volunteers to provide a safe and efficient venue. Front line staff put needles into 850 arms. Well done!
After October’s by-election, we welcomed Mrs Ami Carty to council. Councillor Carty and her husband Ryan have two daughters, she is a life-long resident of the Village, a teacher and community volunteer. Councillor Carty dug in on day one and her focus on council matters is recognized by her colleagues.
Council continues its 2022 budget discussions against a 4.5% inflation rate over the past 12 months and a zero % property tax increase in 2021. Next budget meeting is Tuesday, January 11 at 6:00. It is live streamed on the Village of Westport Youtube Channel and I encourage you to watch.
Our Westport branding exercise continues in January when the committee meets to consider the slogan. Over 80 suggestions were submitted by community members – so stay tuned. It too will be live streamed.
With thanks to grants from the provincial government covering 75% of the work, there will be some technical upgrades at both the water plant on Concession St and the waste water pumping station at Glen St.
We received positive news last week that the bequeathment for the new Serenity Garden, located beside the fire hall, should arrive this winter and building and planting can begin in the spring. It will be a peaceful place to sit while surrounded by flowers and plants.
Watercolours of Westport has reached its first year goal – to have 10 new families in residence. Congratulations to Mr Steve Roulston. Building this part of our community provides jobs for many local people and we continue to be thankful for these opportunities.
There is a change of command at Town Hall this winter. Our CAO, Mr Paul Snider, is retiring mid February. He has provided strong leadership these past five years. As most of you know, Paul was raised in Westport and he always has a secret smile when he admits how pleased he has been to return to his hometown to finish his career. Best wishes Paul and Heather. The new CAO, Ms Kimberly Westgate, begins in late January. She brings many years of municipal experience with her, currently serving as the Clerk for The Township of Leeds and 1000 Islands. Please extend a warm Westport welcome to Kimberly.
This year has shown us that the world can change overnight. We can only rely on a few things: our faith, our community, our family and our courage. In 2022, we will continue to stand side by side supporting each other. Remember to be kind to others and to yourself..
My warmest wishes to you and your loved ones for a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, and successful New Year.
Mayor Robin Jones