The new Council was sworn in on November 15, 2022, by CAO Kim Westgate.
INAUGURAL SPEECH BY MAYOR ROBIN JONES, November 15, 2022
Good evening Council, Families and Staff
I wish to begin by recognizing each of you for your commitment to Westport and congratulate you on your election win. This is not only an exciting day but one that is full of anticipation for the next 4 years.
We have much to consider and decisions to take. The Official Plan will be coming forward in 2023 and then the Zoning by-law will be reviewed. Bill 23 will need to be understood and considered alongside Watercolour and other development. A new Class C EA has been approved and a technical committee formed to assist the Engineer’s work. After years of little or no inflation, we need to be looking for ways to face down 7% YTD. Early signs from the province are not positive as one of our major grants, OMPF, has seen a reduction for 2023.
On a positive note, although COVID is still a threat – we are all finding ways to return to many of the activities that we enjoyed before March 2020. We have a young Junior C team that is working hard and making us proud. Community groups, such as FOTA, Westport Arts Council and Westport in Bloom continue to bring successful activities to the Village. The Library, Museum and Harbour are integral parts of our village. Our municipal staff are hard-working people who are dedicated and committed to the village and public service. These are strong components that continue to make Westport a Timeless Lakeside Village.
I am humbled and honoured by the trust the voters placed in me and look forward to working with each of you. I will continue to draw on my experience to bring clarity to issues. I have a strong moral compass and you can count on my integrity and honesty. I am also fair, open-minded, and an accountable leader.
Without a doubt, there were some differences on the issues among the candidates in the last few months. Those debates and conversations were necessary, but it’s now time to come together. I want to recognize Frank Huth and John Pringle who individually put forward their energy and collectively contributed to discussions that will make our village better.
The Austrian psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl stated. “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
So tonight, we begin to lay the foundation of how we choose our responses to the stimuli, as a team of 5 people, elected by the voters of Westport and given the mandate to do the hard work of setting policy designed to deliver collective services to the community with limited financial resources.
Let’s consider a more collaborative government, which involves the government, community and businesses communicating with each other and working together to achieve more than any one sector could achieve on its own. Choosing this response requires listening, considering new and different ideas, high degrees of social responsibility and critical thinking. Consider the growth we can achieve as a collective.
Now, if you agree, this approach will take some time, thought and discussion. Eight years ago we began down this path of getting input from the community with the establishment of Committees of Council. Some have had positive outcomes, however overall they have not been that effective – particularly for the community members who volunteered to be part of them. I have given this a lot of thought and look forward to hearing from you and considering different ways of establishing a framework, that includes involvement by the community and businesses to achieve more collaborative solutions.
I would like to thank my family and friends, many of whom were part of my re-election team. Your support, time and generosity are deeply appreciated.
For members of Council, the work begins next week … so take a few days to reflect on what you bring to the team for the next four years. And while you do, remember what Theodore Roosevelt says: “The only person who makes no mistake is the one who does nothing”.
Again, congratulations and I look forward to the next four years.
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