Simply outstanding. Others words people used to describe Heritage Day in the Village yesterday were: authentic, extensive, fun, educational, friendly – great day.
Thank you Heritage Committee Board Members: Jacky Brady, Jane Murphy, Margot Rothwell, Pam Stuffles, Heather Huth, Wendy Laviolette, Don Goodfellow and Brian Judge and all of the other volunteers who turned the arena into a delightful history lesson of the Village of Westport and surrounding area and the park into an interesting collection of vendors.
There was lots going on throughout the day. The Westport Arts Council did the “big reveal” of 6 Muskoka chairs that local artists have painted with beautiful Canadian themes. The chairs are being hosted at 6 different businesses in the Village until August 19 (MUSICWestport). The Lions Club had their amazing crew of BBQ’ers doing some of their finest cooking, George Reynolds and his band and Marty Crapper and his roving band kept music in the air. Lots of people took the opportunity to dress in 1867 clothes which really gave a “heritage” feel to the day.
It is events like this, where we work together – volunteers & businesses, that give us a deep sense of pride in our Home Town. Yes, Home Town Pride!
Last fall, Mr Norman Berketa, owner of NMB Productions, met with me at Town Hall and shared that his Canadian company planned on filming a TV series pilot in the Village this year. He has recently confirmed that the crews and actors will be in the Village filming the week of May 26 and will be poking around this coming week (May 2) making the final selection of where they will be shooting.
The series called “Gentle Bend”, is a quirky dramatic comedy about relationships and redemption. The story follows a 30-something Ben Dalton as he tries to pick-up the pieces of his shattered life, back where he once belonged, the small Village of Gentle Bend.
Let’s show them what our Westport Home Town Pride is all about. Because you never know… Perhaps Steven Spielberg next??
On Thursday, CAO Snyder and I had a teleconference with staff from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and Ministry of Infrastructure (MOI). OMAFRA has the responsibility of assessing the OCIF3 applications and deciding which are successful. The meeting was frustrating to say the least. We were told that our situation is not “critical enough” when weighed against the merits of all of the projects and our financial ability to pay. A new financial consideration this year is just that … the project cost per household … and ours wasn’t enough to bump the project up into the successful category. Seriously!!!! They said it was a very well written and concise application that thoroughly explained the project and our situation in the Village. However, at the end of the conversation with these Ministry staff, there was still no OCIF money or any other support for Westport from the provincial government. They suggested we try again in 2018, however were quick to say that there was no guarantee that we would be successful.
I was clear that we don’t have “next year” for getting a grant for this project. Council has decided that it is necessary, for a variety of reasons, to build the new waste water treatment system in 2017.
The Minister of Infrastructure’s office called on Thursday and CAO Snyder and I are meeting with him in Toronto in mid-April. MPP Steve Clark, who has continued to work on our behalf, will be attending the meeting with us. It is my hope that, being a former municipal politician, the Minister will see things less through a bureaucratic lens and more from your perspective – the real people who live and work in Westport.
As always, if you have any questions, please call me or any of the members of Council.
At last night’s Village of Westport Council mtg, there were discussions regarding both the 2016 and 2017 Village budgets.
The final numbers are in for the 2016 Village budget. On a budget of approx $1.6million, we came in with a deficit of $1,000. Absolutely amazing work by Council, staff and the contractors. Particular kudos to our Treasurer, Anne Marie Koiner, who worked with Council and put additional checks and balances in place mid-year. Congratulations Team!!!!!!! and thank you for your dedication in coming in on budget.
Council also spent considerable time on round #4 of developing the 2017 budget. We are committed to bringing in a budget that has no frills, no unnecessary purchases and yet covers those expenses that are either in the interest of public safety, required to protect damage to infrastructure or required by law. Round #5 will occur at the Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, February 21 @ 7:00 p.m. Please join us and hear the discussions first hand.