Despite the uncertainty and widespread disruptions caused by COVID-19, Canora had another remarkable year in 2020 and town council is looking forward to more progress in 2021.
It is not uncommon for people to focus on the things that a town council does not achieve. Council members do not ignore what some people perceive to be a problem or a priority – they too are residents and taxpayers. However, the list is never-ending and the resources and finances of the Town are finite. Everyone would like first-class service, facilities and infrastructure, but all for what they deem a reasonable amount of taxes. This means council has to do the best they can while prioritizing what gets done and when.
With that in mind, council can point to many accomplishments in the past year, including continued infrastructure renewal with the replacement of water mains on Eighth Avenue West. Most of the water mains in town have been replaced, with just a few streets left to be done.
Due to public health guidelines, Canora in Bloom and the Winter Lights Festival were not able to develop into the usual full-scale events, but everyone once again experienced a breath-taking lights display at King George Park that was made possible through local sponsorship. This year, the display was even expanded outside the park.
Council continued its goal of improving property standards throughout town, with the assistance of the Commissionaires.
Recreation facility upgrades continued with significant compressor work at both rinks and the ongoing improvements to ball diamonds, including Al Sapieha Field.
Thanks to some additional funding from the provincial government, the Municipal Economic Enhancement Program (MEEP) made possible the completion of some projects that have been put off for years, including a new Public Works storage building and south sign corridor upgrades.
The Town went through a general election in 2020 which resulted in four new council members, including myself as mayor.
This council is eager to implement its goals and ideas moving forward into 2021 and the rest of its four-year term.
Council will soon begin annual budget discussions, but has already made some bigger commitments for this year.
One of the biggest and most exciting projects that the community has seen for awhile will be the construction of a new aquatic facility. If everything goes according to plan, construction of a new swimming pool, building and related infrastructure will begin in the fall of 2021 and be ready for the 2022 swim season.
This year should also see the construction of a transfer station to replace the existing landfill. The switch from a landfill to transfer station and subsequent decommissioning of the existing garbage dump is a multi-year project that will cost more than $3 million. This work should solidify the Town’s solid waste management system for decades to come.
Our community has so many great things going for it, and council will continue to work with residents and local business owners to keep Canora a friendly, welcoming and pleasing community for everyone.