MAYOR STEVEN BLACK TO TIMMINS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE – SMALL BUSINESS/LOCAL GOVERNMENT WEEK
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2016 at the PORCUPINE DANTE CLUB, TIMMINS, ONTARIO – 12:00 PM
Welcome, Bienvenue, Wachay!
Thank you, Fred Gibbons, for the kind introduction.
My colleagues on council, members of the Chamber of Commerce, members of the media, invited guests; it gives me great pleasure to be here today, to share with you the State of our City. I want to thank you all for being here today, especially members of the City of Timmins Administration for their hard work and contributions to the details contained in this speech.
I’d also like to acknowledge and thank the Chamber of Commerce and Northern College for hosting today’s event, and providing me the opportunity to highlight our successes over the past year, as well as speak to some of our challenges.
It gives me great pride to stand before you all today, half way into my first term as Mayor of this great City. It is no secret that we have faced many challenges and hard decisions this year. However, as Franklin Roosevelt said, a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor, and I believe we are all presented with opportunities to learn and grow through these challenges. I sought, and accepted this role knowing there would be challenging times ahead, and certain ideas would be met with controversy – I did so prepared to think outside the box, make tough decisions and accept change.
This year’s theme – “Measure up! Shape your future.” to me, signifies continuously creating a promising tomorrow, with the actions we take today, and this sometimes involves taking some risk.
I believe we’ve made, and continue to make, great strides in shaping a promising future for our community. This is only possible by working together to set and achieve our goals of making Timmins an increasingly vibrant, innovative, inclusive, and sustainable community.
Best known for our many successes in mining, the TEDC is leading a three-year Mining Supply and Industrial Mineral Investment Attraction Regional Project that would work to strengthen and expand the current mining supply sector and increase development of the industrial mineral sector. The total project cost is $523,000 over three years, with funding provided by FedNor, NOHFC and community partners. This project works to support our existing mining suppliers while bringing new investment to the region. Key activities include a mining supply gap analysis, value propositions, marketing and lead generation and attraction. Foreign Direct Investment projects, such as the Mining Supply Investment Attraction Regional Project, are not quick turnaround projects. For this reason, the project was developed as a three-year project to allow time required to target companies, generate leads, market and entice companies to consider Timmins and Region as a place to invest.
While our key industrial players in mining continue to support the Timmins economy, it is no secret that we are currently quite reliant on a non-renewable resource.
In order to successfully diversify our economy, we must not only continue to support this industry, but also explore options and take some risks to diversify the economy.
One of our competitive advantages in Timmins is an abundance of land, and the Timmins Economic Development Corporation has been helping to grow the agricultural sector. They regularly field calls from farmers and investors from outside Timmins who are looking for land, and they are working with funding organizations on regional improvement efforts such as tile drainage and cold weather crop trials. They’re also working with local farmers to help them access funding and build their capacity.
There is also continued activity in foreign direct investment, made possible by multiple community partners working together. The TEDC has worked closely with the City of Timmins Planning and Engineering departments, the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines as well as city council and our CAO, who have all been instrumental in seeing the new investments move forward in our community. The TEDC is working with a number of investors at different levels of commitment at this time. The two most advanced projects are the Calabrian project and the Jiangsu Tianlong Basalt Co. Ltd. Project.
Calabrian reached out to the TEDC as they conducted their site selection process for their new SO2 plant to be established in Canada. This plant will provide approximately 20 new full-time positions and will require an initial capital investment of $30 million. In initial discussions, Northeast Ontario, or Northwest Quebec were ideal locations for this development. Calabrian visited Timmins on two separate occasions to determine feasibility of locating the site in our community. As you may recall from last year’s State of the City, Calabrian had announced that Timmins was approved by the Calabrian Board of Directors as the preferred site for development.
Since that announcement a year ago, much development has occurred. The TEDC and MNDM worked with the client to submit a successful NOHFC application for a $2 million grant to move their project forward. This funding was specifically for the client and the construction of the plant, and is separate from the funding secured for the overall industrial park. Construction is currently underway at the Hallnor rail industrial park with an anticipated operation timeframe of December 2016. To date, 16 full-time employees have been hired and have commenced their training.
Over the past year, many meetings and communications have also taken place with Mr. Qiu of Jiangsu Tianlong Basalt Co. Ltd., to strengthen our relationship and move forward on a Basalt Fibre Rockwool Insulation Plant. These included meetings in Timmins, Toronto, and in China. As these meetings were positive, late in 2015, we were asked to participate in Premiere Wynne’s Mission to China where we signed a Letter of Intent to determine feasibility of the plant in Timmins.
Recently, as a follow up to the first signing, we were asked to participate in Prime Minister Trudeau’s mission where we officially signed a letter of agreement to move the project forward. The Timmins team continues to work with the client to finalize land requirements, acquire funding and to prepare for the construction process, which is planned to begin in 2017 if the project stays on the current timeline. At this time, the investor is currently working to secure a local engineering firm to work with their existing engineers to ensure that all building and equipment meet Canadian requirements. This project brings the opportunity for approximately 50 new full-time employment positions and has a minimum investment of approximately $10 million.
At this time I would like to invite Mr Cheng, whom is the vice president of the company and former mayor Yizheng City and William Qiu who is the owner’s son, to come up and say a few words and introduce of the team from Jiangsu Tianlong Continuous Basalt Fibre Co who are here this week to continue to work on advancing the project.
Council has also approved an application from Full Beard Brewing at 219 Wilson Avenue for a brewery and uses supportive to the brewery, such as the retail sale of beer, a tasting room and a patio tasting area. The brewery’s first beer, Five O’Clock Shadow was recently released to the public and is receiving rave reviews.
Many existing businesses have seen growth and change as well this year:
- The Bucket Shop’s new development at 200 McBride Street North, which is a new one storey office building (1,104 square metres/11,885 square feet) and fabrication shop (3,576 square metres/38,500 square feet), with a total building area of 4,680 square metres (50,385 square feet).
- The Rainville Health Clinic on Riverside Drive was approved and is a new 289.15 square metre (3,112.4 square feet) health clinic.
- Council approved a site plan control agreement, to permit the development of the former Lionel Gauthier School and gym into a 28-unit residential apartment dwelling, consisting of two storeys, with a total building area of 1,187 square metres (12,776.7 square feet). Two additional phases are proposed for the subject lands.
- There are many other great small businesses that have opened around the city in the last year and it has been a pleasure to take part in my many of those openings including the Hard Rock Animal Clinic which I was at yesterday and is a truly beautiful addition to the downtown area.
- As previously mentioned, the Hallnor Rail Industrial Park saw Calabrian Corporation begin the development of a Sulfur Dioxide Plant and associated buildings including office, maintenance and utility buildings, through Council approving the site plan control agreement for this development.
- Council approved an application to allow an administrative office, bingo hall, concert space and classroom space for La Ronde to move into the former St. Charles School building for a temporary period, while rebuilding and renovations take place at the Centre’s current location, which was destroyed by a fire in November 2015.
Another exciting opportunity was revealed when the Ontario Media Development Corporation’s In the Loop announced that “the City of Timmins is open for filming! With consistent snowfall in the winter season and access to mining operations, forestry facilities and pristine boreal forest wilderness, Timmins is a great asset for the film and television industry.” Through the TEDC, the Film Production Assistance Team aims to help producers find great locations here in our city!
Improvements to city-owned infrastructure have also taken place, some serving to enhance services, such as:
- New underwater platforms for the pool, allowing young children to take aquatic lessons
- New flooring in the McIntyre ballroom and auditorium
- New playground equipment in Murray St. Park
- New swing sets in Westmount and Hudson Park
- New LED sign at the McIntyre Community Centre that advertises events at the Mac, as well as other municipal events at other venues
- Replacement of the Curling Club roof
- Mountjoy tennis court was recoated
- New LED lighting installed at the Mountjoy Arena
- New docks installed at the Mountjoy Conservation Historical Park
We have also completed some construction on the new Ulta-Violet (UV) Blending Chamber. This project is being done in partnership with Pro-Pipe Construction, Northern Industrial Services Group, City of Timmins Water Plant Operation and Maintenance Department, and the City of Timmins Water Distribution Department, who all contributed in making this a success. The project was awarded in June 2016 to Pro-Pipe Construction Lld, in the amount of approximately $5.2 million. The project involves the construction of a new UV disinfection system which will significantly reduce the use of chlorine used in the process of producing clean water for the City of Timmins. Currently the project is approximately 20% completed, and is expected to be commissioned and operational by late spring 2017.
Our roadways are also seeing significant improvements:
- Sandy Falls completed from Jaguar to Mahoney Road
- Watermain extensions being completed on Shirley and Government Road
- Watermain, gas, and hydro servicing for the Hallnor Industrial Park
- Birch Street reconstruction Phase 1 to be completed soon
- St Jean roadway completed to McBride
However, probably the largest and most visible project is the completion of Phase 1 of the Connecting Link, thanks to a $3 Million funding announcement from the Provincial Government’s Connecting Link Program. Through the Connecting Links Program, Ontario is helping municipalities repair their roadways and bridges that connect two ends of a provincial highway through a community or to a border crossing. Timmins was a key advocate for lobbying for the reinstatement of the connecting link funding and further efforts to see the amount of funding available double. We also received the maximum funding allowed to any municipality in phase 1. The 3 million dollars received was more than any community in Ontario, and our team has applied for the same funding for Phase 2.
While investments to our infrastructure are a key aspect of the current municipal world we also continue to provide key services to our communities.
The safety of everyone in the city remains one of our highest priorities.
The mandate for the Timmins Fire Department is to provide the highest level of emergency services, in conjunction with comprehensive public education, fire prevention and inspection programs to the citizens of the City of Timmins. This is achieved with a fulltime complement of 35, as well as a volunteer complement of approximately 140 in six stations. Through their strong efforts in Fire Prevention and Public Education over the years, there has been a slight decrease in actual fires, but the extent and danger of these fires has increased immensely. Thus, core training, as well as specialty training has been a focus for the Timmins Fire Department. However, the overall call numbers have not decreased, as responses in water/ice rescue, medical, vehicle extrication, snowmobile rescue, forest fires, hazmat and other emergencies has increased. These past two years, capital budget has allowed the department to purchase 70 Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus with individual face-pieces for all firefighters, as well as testing and repair equipment to service the state of the previous apparatus for years to come. This year will see the purchase of 160 Fire Fighting Gear (Bunker Gear) for the entire department, which is now required to be replaced every 10 years. With the ongoing support of Council and the citizens of the City of Timmins, the Fire Department will continue to provide a structured service that is second-to-none, and the envy of many municipalities.
Our Timmins Police Service has also evolved into a modern policing agency, made up of 84 sworn police officers and 53 support staff members – comprised of 30 9-1-1 communicators, 13 records staff, nine Special Constables and one court coordinator. The team is responsible for calls for service over 2,797 square kilometers, and the areas of responsibility continue to expand as our officers strive to meet these challenges on a daily basis. Calls for service in general, have become more varied, complex, and requiring a multi-agency response focusing on transparency and the ethical use of authorities. Crime rates are no longer the only metric used to measure overall police effectiveness. Police services are mandated to meet the requirements made by all three levels of government. They are tasked with delivering impartial and effective law enforcement services in a manner which prioritizes efficient use of human and logistical resources, while maintaining a strong sense of public trust. Public safety, including the safety of our officers remains a core function of our policing agency. Crime prevention strategies and inter-agency dialogues work towards achieving true community safety goals.
Many of our local social services agencies have experienced cuts to their operational budgets, thus steadily increasing call volume for social issues, such as persons afflicted with mental health issues. This is the nature of modern policing, and the need for the Timmins Police to engage in meaningful community strategies and interact with our community partners is vital.
The TPS’s Drug Enforcement Unit continue to be an enthusiastic member of a local drug awareness working group, with a shared goal of reducing the incidents of pharmaceutical misuse and the deaths that arise from the misuse of these substances. This year, a record amount of unwanted, unused, or expired prescription medications was collected in conjunction with the Porcupine Health Unit.
In addition to these and other initiatives, the Timmins Police has had a robust case load and an eventful year, investigating several major cases in 2015/2016, which have led to significant progress in laying of charges and the clearing of a number of high profile cases. These major case investigations include homicide, historical missing persons, and serious assaults. These, and other major incidents require thorough investigations, and significant amounts of work hours, completed by our dedicated police work force. Our officers possess a strong link to their community as well as a steadfast work ethic. They’ve faced a number of challenging situations requiring a calm and effective police response. We are extremely grateful for the dedication and bravery of our officers.
Many services have also been enhanced, benefitting our community as a whole:
- Our two-branch library system continues to be relevant within the City and in the lives of Timmins residents. In fact, the library is thriving in terms of community representation, access and technology. This year, residents have seen an increase in ‘Pop-up Libraries’, where Timmins Public Library staff set up temporary booths at community events like the BIA’s Downtown Urban Park, Timmins Square, Northern Ontario Expo, and most recently, at the Welcome to Timmins Night. The Library’s pop-up installations allow people to become members as well as borrow from a selection of material, while not being in the library itself. Residents visiting the library, can experiment with the new 3D printer, enjoy computer access, great books and DVDs, study space, take part in enriching programs for kids, teens and adults, try out the iPads and tablets that were funded by the Province of Ontario for senior training purposes, and enjoy free Wi-Fi.
- In addition to enjoying free Wi-Fi at the library, the IT department is enhancing the service in all City facilities by upgrading public wireless access points.
- The Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre have submitted an application to the Federal government for an expansion to the museum collections and programming spaces. This would enable the museum to expand and improve on its current successes. They have successfully launched new Thursday night adult programming which has sold out every session. The bi-weekly adult art, culture and heritage programs offer everything from adult colouring nights, Ukrainian egg painting, wire work and weaving to sessions given by successful artists. They’ve also assisted local residents and organizations with the development and presentation of exhibitions – most notably Garage Barrage by photographer Carlo De Lorenzo, 100 Years of Catholic Faith (celebrating the 100th anniversary of the diocese), Pride Art Exhibition (a first exhibit by the local LGBTQ community), and the 75th anniversary of the local air cadet squadron – currently showcased. They’ve also been dedicated to the development of a local exhibition called “Pieces of the Porcupine” featuring artifacts and stories from our local collection, focusing on pieces of our history; and the development of a tour and exhibition of the prospector’s cabin. Between daily attendance, public programs and rentals, the museum welcomed 23,197 attendants in 2015.
The Golden Manor Home for the Aged was built in 1955 and continues to be an important asset to the City of Timmins. The Manor is home to 177 long-stay residents, and provides support to seniors living in the community through a short-stay Respite Program and a Day Program. To date, in 2016, 42 residents were admitted to the Golden Manor, contributing to its overall occupancy of 99%.
The Manor has seen a change in leadership over the last year, with new professionals joining the team in both the Administrator’s and Nursing Director’s roles. The leadership team and staff at the Manor is committed to providing a safe environment for the residents, and delivering high quality care in an environment which is regulated by the Long Term Care Homes Act, 2007. Quality initiatives are aligned with those identified provincially by Health Quality Ontario, and include ensuring a safe environment, and providing effective resident centered care. With staff actively involved on quality teams, good progress is being made across the quality dimensions. Our Resident and Family Councils are actively engaged in decisions which affect the home.
The Provincial Enhanced Long-Term Care Home Renewal Strategy was announced by the MOHLTC in 2016, and is intended to support long-term care homes to re-develop and/or replace aging homes with new ones in order to meet current standards. The Golden Manor does meet the criteria to redevelop in order to meet new compliance requirements, and this will have to be addressed over the coming years.
We recognize that as the population ages, people live longer, and seniors are admitted to long-term care later in life. Often times, residents are plagued with increasingly complex health care needs, requiring more specialized, and dedicated care. Currently, over 50% of residents at the Golden Manor have more than six medical conditions. These complex health conditions, along with increased regulatory requirements are significant factors contributing to rising costs in the long-term care sector. We must continue to lobby the Province to explore alternate funding models, and to continue to provide envelopes of funding to support the changing demographics and levels of care required.
Another project supporting our changing demographics involves a partnership between the Venture Centre and the TEDC, who secured funding and oversaw an Age Friendly Strategy for Timmins. This project, which
- involved consultations with more than 600 seniors, aligns with the Timmins 2020 Strategic Plan recommendation to address service gaps and needs for older adults. Council has already implemented two of its recommendations, by increasing pedestrian walk signal times at intersections, and exploring tax breaks for low-income seniors to help them stay in their homes. Many community partners are now working on the other recommendations to ensure our city is safe, welcoming and enjoyable for our community’s seniors.
- Our partners at the Mattagami Region Conservation Authority (MRCA) and their charitable arm Wintergreen continue to ensure our residents and visitors have access to vast, well-maintained trails and parkland. With a watershed area of more than 11,000 square kilometers, consisting of the entire Upper Mattagami River watershed and a portion of the Abitibi River watershed; the MRCA oversees the care and maintenance of conservation areas at Hersey Lake, Gillies Lake, White Waterfront and Mountjoy Historical (Participark). Mountjoy Historical was just recently taken back by the organization and they are looking at various improvements to the site. While the windstorm last December kept the team busy with 170 known trees being blown down at Hersey Lake, the group has also taken on new projects.
And last, but definitely not least, the Tourism Department has had a busy year and a significant increase in the number of visitors to the centre. Tourism Timmins has recently relocated to the Timmins Chamber of Commerce. As part of the relocation, Tourism Timmins has assumed the responsibility for managing the information centre and the summer industrial tour program, most of which, I might mention, were sold out this summer. The team has also completed the Timmins Gold Mine Tour Asset Relocation Program and are now actively promoting a new tour, apply called, All that Glitters is Gold: a Timmins Self-Guided Mining Heritage Tour that has visitors stopping in at the Hollinger House, Prospectors Cabin, and several other sites with murals and information boards that speak to the Porcupine Gold Rush, The Big Three, Hard Rock Driller, A Day at the Hollinger, The Gold Seekers, the Refinery Tour and the Original Blast Furnace.
The tourist centre has been re-branded the Timmins Convention Bureau, and Visitor Welcome Centre. New signage was unveiled recently which supports the new community brand look and feel.
In addition, our residents, and those of surrounding communities, are seeing an unprecedented number of festivals, events and conferences. This greatly contributes to our economic success as a whole, supporting restaurants, hotels and the retail market. Tourism Timmins continues to lead several events in the community, such as Canada Day, the Summer Concert Series and the Great Canadian Kayak Challenge and Festival (named a Top 100 Festival by Festivals & Events Ontario). In their success, these continue to attract visitors, as did this year’s special CBC Broadcast of the Tragically Hip.
Independent groups have also been increasingly active in putting on great events in the City with Rocktoberfest, Epic Band Battle, Rock on the River, Heart of Gold Fest, Bacon Fest, Paint in the Park, Foam Party, Frosh Week, Fall Fair, Snowcross, X-Fest… These are all generating visitations from tourism markets, as well as overnight stays. The annual Snowmobile Week, which Tourism Timmins launched last year will continue to help position our city as a premier snowmobile destination. Sports Tourism will continue to be a priority segment. Things like the Mushkegowuk Cup, NOSSA Nordic Championship and others can’t be understated. These events bring millions into the economy and help us to diversity from a resourced-based community to a regional hub.
We’ve received excellent recognition in being selected as one of the stops for Roger’s Hometown Hockey Tour, coming November 26-27. We hope everyone will take part in this free activity, celebrating the hockey heritage in Timmins. Ron MacLean has publically stated how much he is looking forward to their stop in Timmins, so it is my hope that we will show them a warm community welcome and take the opportunity to show the world what Timmins has to offer.
In an era that is marked by economic turbulence, the tourism industry stands out as one of the bright spots. Tourism is a vibrant industry which cannot be ignored as one of the key ingredients to healthy, regional economic development. We already have many things going for us. The formula for success is simple. The profit from tourism is linked directly to the energy, thought and funding given to it, and its impact is remarkable. The economic effect of tourism spending is much larger than the mere direct purchases of goods and services. Every time a purchase is made, the effect is multiplied, providing more jobs, which in turn generate income, which is again spent in the community and region. In addition to the economic benefits of tourism, local residents enjoy the many side benefits from the tourist trade heritage and restoration programs, improved recreational programs, increased shopping, festival and cultural events, and an enhancement of community pride and cultural awareness.
Next year, for Canada’s 150th, we are planning an eight-day festival guaranteed to put us on the map. The festival will include an international fireworks competition featuring teams from Brazil, China, Finland, France, Italy, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Canada. The festival will also include eight nights of concerts featuring a wide variety of great entertainment. In addition to this, there will be many great activities and festivities offered for free to celebrate the great history of our province, and country along with our First Nations partners. Although the festival has a high cost, it is anticipated revenue from ticket sales, concessions, vendors, sponsors and grants will exceed the upfront cost, not to mention the significant impact to the local economy.
This project like others are not always met with positivity from all residents but ensure our community is an attractive place for tourists to visit, residents to live, and business owners to choose to raise their families. Timmins is one of the five largest cities in Northern Ontario and a regional hub. For years we have watched North Bay, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Sault Ste Marie invest in festivals, events and recreational assets, and yet we have always felt like the little sister city that isn’t able to invest in itself. Changing this mentality is not done without resistance but is critical to the success and future of our city.
Our Timmins 2020 Strategic Plan outlined the need to undertake a distinctive signature project, and we have chosen to complete feasibility and geotechnical studies for a multi-use recreation center featuring a new aquatic center. Council has also supported issuing an RFP with a goal of being in a position to award the construction contract in summer of 2017 if funding sources are secured. Should this project move ahead to the construction phase, it would also support other elements of the Timmins 2020 Strategic Plan, such as the culture, tourism and recreation initiatives; community brand; and regional hub promotion.
There are many ways in which this facility would benefit the City of Timmins, and I believe it will also draw residents from our surrounding communities. It’s no secret that a large number of our own residents will travel to Cochrane to use its community pool. Kapuskasing and Kirkland Lake have also recently made the decision to move forward in the construction of new pools. Thunder Bay is looking at a new $100 Million+ events center and Sudbury is looking at a new Arena development. While I agree with supporting our neighbouring communities, I also see tremendous value in providing top notch services to our residents right here at home. It seems communities across the north and their corporate partners have realized the importance of this.
The latest decision from council to proceed with an RFP was a great step in the right direction. This topic has seen much controversy since initial discussions have begun, but I believe the launch of a fundraising campaign will give us a great picture of the amount of supporters there are for this project. The RFP for the new aquatic center includes an eight-lane competitive pool, leisure pool with play structure and slides, lazy river, hot tubs, saunas, indoor tennis, squash and pickleball courts. The structure of this RFP will allow items to be dropped to stay within funding limits.
I feel so passionately about this project that I want to put it into perspective. How many businesses here today have revenues over $70,000 per year? Great because the Steve Black business of being mayor has a revenue of approximately $67,000. It has expenses of people (two kids), taxes, mortgage payments, car payments, hydro payments, supplies and materials, community involvement etc. All in all, the Steve Black business has seen better financial days and is currently getting by pay to pay. However, I feel it is an important investment in our community, and support this project so much that today I will kick off the fundraising campaign with a personal cheque of $1000 towards the new aquatic center.
Now comes the challenge. I am challenging every business in the chamber of commerce to match this donation. I believe the chamber website indicates there are over 800 members, so hopefully we will see over $800,000 raised through this challenge over the coming months. I understand businesses are faced with financial pressures but hopefully all see the same value in investing in the future of our community. Too many times I hear the response we pay taxes. As I said so do I. Don’t see this as an investment in the Corporation of the City of Timmins. Look at it as an investment in the quality of life of your employees and families of employees whom have given their lives and time investing in your business and helping make it a success.
So we have 10 months until the RFP should be complete. This means each business in the Chamber of Commerce only needs to scratch together $100/month to match this contribution. With that being said, I am hoping those members whom have revenue that far exceeds my personal business model, will step up and contribute in a manner that they believe is within their capability, and help us reach the fundraising goal. I am asking all our community partners to give back in a way that will help shape the future of this community in a positive manner. Our large corporate partners can sometimes struggle to justify to shareholders and boards outside our region why community investment is important whether they will be here for five more years or 50, but I urge the senior management teams to rally behind this project and attempt to convince those who are distant from our community, yet reap the benefits from it, to honor their social responsibilities and invest in the future of the community. Invest in their employees’ families for generations to come – those same employees who have invested in them for many years. These employees have given their blood, sweat, and sometimes lives to help make these companies the success stories they have been, and I am asking that the companies return the favour and help us make the largest recreational and quality-of-life investment in our community in the last four decades a reality.
Together we can help ensure Timmins rises above the immediate challenges and remains a great place to live, learn and play for generations to come. This investment will enrich the quality of life for our residents, serve as a regional tourism attraction, which will in turn support local businesses and will also help with our attempts to attract new residents, retain youth, and ensure residents from toddlers to seniors can lead an active life year round. In order to convince others we are a community worth investing in, we need to be prepared to invest in ourselves. And today I am willing to kick that process off.
Thank you very much,