Happy New Year. I hope you and your families enjoyed a happy holiday season. Now that the holidays have passed, we can look forward to the upcoming year. This will be an important year for council. There are many significant projects that we want to see get underway this coming year.
Perhaps the most significant issue for our community will be the direction taken by the Oceanfront lands and SODC. The SODC lands are presently being marketed and we should have indications in the early part of this year of the level of interest and who may be interested in developing those lands.
Properties immediately adjacent to the SODC lands and along the Mamquam Blind Channel are also for sale and hopefully interest will develop to allow those properties to begin the development process. There are many economic advantages and public amenities that could be available with the development of those lands and their development will significantly shape the future of our community.
The new year also marks the start of the second year of this councilís term. It can take a bit of time for a council to gel and become focused and productive. That doesnít always happen immediately after being sworn in. To achieve the benefits we all want for our community, council as a whole will have to develop a coherent vision for our community and be able to focus on reaching those goals.
In my experience on council and my observations before being elected to council, it seems that the first year of a term can be more of an orientation period and the last year a bit clouded with politicking in anticipation of an election. The second year has the potential for the most significant progress to be made during a councilís term. In the coming weeks, council will be developing a strategic plan to articulate its vision for our community and its goals for the coming years.
Last year there were many accomplishments, although most of the significant ones were initiated by the previous council and were completed in this councilís term. The present council has, in my view, yet to make its mark on our community. Two of our most passionate debates last year were over backyard chickens and increases in salaries for councillors (resulting in a 40 per cent increase in the salaries of councillors, by the way!). Hopefully this year our vision and our goals will be loftier and will be more productive for our community.