On February 3, 2015, the Council of Westport held a Budget Town Hall meeting to hear your concerns. The following concerns were introduced by members of the public:
Litter barrel pickup during the summer season
Garbage bags instead of garbage tags
Speeding on Main St and Rideau St
Recycling, including costs and eligible items for recycling
Plans for the paving of Bedford Street
Now, 18 months later, I can report that Council has acted on your concerns.
We have hired a by-law enforcement officer
Routine litter barrel pickup has been increased during the summer months
We have gone to garbage tags for large garbage bags. There is still a large inventory of small garbage bags
A new 4-way stop was put in place at the corner of Bedford and Main St
The recycling program for the Village of Westport is driven by the Township of Rideau Lakes, as we use its services. We will continue to encourage the Township to widen the eligible items for recycling
We have been unsuccessful in our grant applications to pave Bedford St. The cost is approx $1.5 million and we will continue to keep this issue on our radar and apply for grants as they become available
Please continue to keep Council informed on your concerns and suggestions. This is our Village, your Village.
This week, I was at an event with other politicians from Eastern Ontario municipalities and one of them said “You have the best volunteers in Westport”. You know it, I know it and it seems that people for hundreds of km around know it.
Our Village’s bench strength comes from those individuals who give freely of their time for the good of the community. We have flowers and banners beautifying our streets, we are raising much needed funds for the arena, our arts council is bringing more than 20 events to the ‘port each year, minor sports coaches providing strong role models for our youth and children, a service club who knows the meaning of “service”and a Royal Canadian Legion who places the Vets and serving members of the Armed Forces first. There are many others who do important work – each and every day.
What about the community member who wanted to support the many cyclists who travel through the Village and donated a professional bike repair kit, which is now mounted on the outside wall of the Information Centre?
What about the many volunteers who came together to help the village host Rideau Thunder this week-end? A wonderful event, despite the weather, that brought people with different interests to town. This group of volunteers were helping get the registration packages and voting ballots for the Show’n’Shine ready on Thursday night.
The criteria used by researchers to determine what makes a municipality a “best place to live” yields consistent results study after study. Community. In a great community, people engage with that community. They get out and LIVE with their neighbours, business owners and visitors to build a strong sense of community for the greater good. Well – Welcome to Westport – a great community!
There are few things that bring people and communities together better than music and last night’s Christmas Cantata at Knox Presbyterian Church in Westport was a shining example. A strong choir of 35 singers drawn from all over North Crosby, the St Edward’s Childrens Choir, a “soulful” quartet from Elgin and the magical sounds from the flute, combined together to make a Christmas concert to remember.
Thank you to everyone for your efforts the past several months. It was evident from the smiles on the faces of the audience and the standing ovation that you had spent your time well.
Special thanks to Choir Director Joanne Lambert and Pianist Ann Savage. In a very short time you turned 35 individual singers into a well oiled machine. Well done!
Generous, caring, committed, AMAZING. Those are the words to describe the large crowd of Westport and North Crosby residents who came to the Cove Country Inn for the community rally to raise money for the Canadian Red Cross and its humanitarian support the Refugees from Syria and area. The donations from tonight are still being totalled, however it sounds like over $25,000 in donations were raised tonight. You read that correctly – over $25,000!!!! Added to the $16,500 matching funds gives a total over $41,000. After the Canadian government matches, we will be sending around $82,000 to help the refugees.
Generous, caring, committed, AMAZING and, did I say generous -those are the words to describe my friends, neighbours, kindred souls. Seriously – when we work together – we can accomplish significant goals. Give yourself a pat on the back! Thank you everyone.
It has been 6 months since the new Council began its term and I was sworn in as your Mayor. The new Committees of Council were established in February and by March meetings were taking place. Many residents of Westport are members of the committees and I expect amazing things to occur with their valued input and efforts. The Committee of the Whole is a new monthly meeting of Council, a little less formal than Council meetings and is generally the 4th Tuesday and yes, it is open to the public.
In regard to the waste water plant, I am happy to report that we did not need to transport any effluent this year. Although we had a winter of freezing nozzles and pipe breaks, we processed enough effluent that our lagoon levels were lower this spring than in 2014. We monitored the lagoon levels daily and had a contingency plan in place to transport effluent if the lagoon levels rose beyond predetermined levels during the winter. We are in the process of getting the summer application equipment set up and will be operating under a Ministry of the Environment Emergency Order again this year to lower the lagoons to where they need to be for next winter.
The Village is also moving forward in providing a climate-proof, dependable waste water system and one that will allow growth for the Village. The first step is a process called a Municipal Environment Assessment (MEA). This is a prescriptive process, which is led by an Engineering firm with the assistance of a technical steering committee, which includes several Village residents. The Project Coordinator reports to Council on the progress of the MEA at each Council meeting this year. Please consider joining us at Council meetings to hear what is being proposed.
Council worked with a consultant this winter and spring to develop a Village Strategic Plan, a first for Westport. Many members of the business community and public were interviewed by the consultant for their input. A strategic plan helps Council prioritize its goals in line with the budget. The final plan will be shared with Council at the Committee of the Whole meeting on June 23 at 7:00 p.m.
Winter turned into spring slowly this year so our “Pulling Together in Westport” spring clean up was held on Saturday, May 9th. Over 40 community members volunteered their time, effort and rakes to get the Village ready for the May long week-end and summer. Thank you to everyone who helped out. Watch for this to repeat in 2016.
Recently, village residents Bob Scott and Mark Herlehy approached me with a proposal to help the arena. They had done a review of repairs and improvements that need to be done. The “wish list” was well thought out, however as the Village has many other pressures, there is only a small amount of money set aside in the budget for repairs to the community centre. And this is when Bob and Mark offered their suggestion, which I accepted!
Those now using the facility or who have fond memories of time spent on the ice or in the stands might consider becoming a “Friend of the Arena” by making a donation. Donations made to the Village of Westport for arena improvements qualify as gifts for income tax purposes and the Village would issue receipts. All donations will only be used for this purpose. For further information contact Mark Herlehy at firstname.lastname@example.org. or Frank Huth at email@example.com.
I hope you enjoy a long, hot summer and that you spend time with loved ones. As always, if you have any questions, please contact a Councillor or myself.