It’s going to be a big year in Williams Lake.
I’m looking forward to meeting with the Premier’s blue ribbon crime reduction panel later this month and sharing the work we’re doing to move toward a safer, healthier community, as well as the successes we’ve had so far.
Also this year, we’re anticipating a decision about the New Prosperity mine, the Sam Ketcham Pool referendum and local government and school board elections.
I’m looking forward to seeing progress to the Master Plan to upgrade the Cariboo Memorial Hospital, and finalizing the plans for how the Highway 97 four-laning project will connect to city streets.
We will also be celebrating the city’s 85th birthday with a number of events.
Our economic indicators for 2013 look good.
Our building permit values totalled $15.4 million — almost double last year — and the highest since 2009.
The number of new homes built and the number of business licenses remained steady, and our vacancy rate has declined to a four-year low.
The value of real estate sales was up.
We saw construction begin on the new West Fraser planer mill, and the construction of the new Andre’s Electronics store.
Council will attend a facilitated workshop with the Williams Lake Indian Band and the Cariboo Regional District next week to identify ways to improve communication, strengthen relationships, and work together for the region.
Partnerships benefit all those involved, and Williams Lake city council is always looking to strengthen relationships with our First Nations neighbours.
I’m looking forward to building on a solid foundation of a sustainable long term approach to financial planning, building a strong economy and a healthy, safe community as we move forward in 2014.
Kerry Cook is the mayor of Williams Lake.