The six Quesnel councillors and mayor Mary Sjostrom presented their year end reports at Monday night’s council meeting.
Sjostrom started, highlighting the strides the city has taken since last year, including multi centre funding and the West Quesnel land stability project.
“The North Cariboo Multi Centre received $4 million from the province, $2 million from Northern Development Initiative Trust and $1 million thanks to a donation from West Fraser Timber,” Sjostrom said.
She also reminded city residents this multi centre is for them and the city needs a lot of support.
The mayor spoke about her trip to China, where she was accompanied by communications manager Matt Wood and SD28 superintendent Sue Ellen Miller.
In addition to visiting China, Sjostrom visited Quesnel’s twin city, Shiraoi, Japan in June.
“Shiraoi town mayor plans to visit Quesnel in September 2013 with a delegation,” Sjostrom said.
Sjostrom explained the landfill has its new entrance open to the public in a trial run with the full scale system taking effect January 9, 2013.
Other accomplishments Sjostrom is proud of were the hosting of the 25th anniversary of Rick Hansen’s Wheels In Motion tour as well as the mining industry’s investments in the city.
Sushil Thapar presented his report next, explaining his thoughts on the city’s financial state.
“The city was left in financial disaster in 2003 when my first term started and history is repeating itself,” Thapar said.
“The scars are green from the city hall building debt and we have infrastructure in critical shape.”
Thapar said there are projects which he’d like to see move forward before others.
“Avery Avenue did not even get looked at which is a safety concern where people are driving on the other side of the street,” Thapar explained.
Thapar also pointed out four out of six water wells are performing past their life spans.
In closing, Thapar thanked the volunteers who helped make Family Day a success.
“Family Day serves 4,500 meals to public at no cost to them,” Thapar said.
“Thank you taxpayers of Quesnel for providing seed money for Family Day.”
Coun. Laurey Anne Roodenburg presented her 2012 report starting by crediting the ourQuesnel process with helping to guide the city council to make Quesnel the city the community sees it looking like in the future.
“I just attended the affordable housing seminar, where the short and medium term goals were presented,” Roodenburg said.
Something Roodenburg sees as an ongoing issue in Quesnel is the aging volunteer population.
One of the biggest hurdles we’re about to run up against is the aging of our volunteer base,” Roodenburg said.
“They are well respected long time volunteers who have made that hard decision to bow out of those organizations which they’ve been a part of for many, many years.
“Without volunteers in our community, many of these organizations will need financial assistance to hire people to fill many of those spots once filled with volunteers or they’ll simple shut down.”
Roodenburg said the city’s strategic planning is helping form the future of Quesnel.
“We’re planning what Quesnel will be like in five, 10 and 40 years,” she said.
Next to present their report was Coun. Mike Cave who said he’s happy with the direction the affordable housing strategy and West Quesnel land stability project are going.
“We finally started seeing some work with the West Quesnel Land Stability,” Cave said.
“When an issue affects 30 per cent of the population for more than 10 years, it’s nice to see progress.”
Cave also applauded council’s continued efforts to strengthen partnerships with First Nations, citing the Nazko gateway as well as the possible extension of city water into Lhtako Dene First Nation band lands.
Cave concluded his presentation with his appreciation of council’s promotions of accessibility.
“I’m very happy with council’s continued effort to promote accessibility,” he said.
“This is a continuing process and it must keep evolving.”
Coun. Scott Elliott was next in line and explained he’s been kept very busy in attending many meetings.
Elliott attended the UBCM conference and the NCLGA conferences, where he leaned a lot
“I’ve learned so much at these outings and from other elected officials that I’ve been able to meet,” Elliott said.
He also worked as the city’s liaison to the different neighbourhood associations.
“All these associations are working on bettering their areas and I applauded their continued efforts,” Elliott said.
Another committee Elliott has been part of and has seen prosper is the tourism and civic pride committee.
“In the past year, I’ve been in contact with many stakeholders and individuals who are passionate about our city and the tourism opportunities in our area,” Elliott explained.
Elliott stressed the importance of having different views on the council as it accurately speaks for the community.
“We don’t always have the same opinions and I don’t think we should,” he said.
“At the end of the day, most of us have been able to have our voices heard, debate the topic, vote and then move on.”
Coun. Ed Coleman started his report out by mentioning the multi centre and the need to meet deadlines.
“The multi centre is a project that will bring further revitalization to the downtown core and trigger other private sector investments,” he explained.
“There are hundreds of priority actions which will take place in the next two years, some out of the ourQuesnel process as well as the work of the Quesnel and District Community Economic Corporation and all their partners.”
Last to report on 2012 was Coun. John Brisco, who said it’s been a bit of a challenge but has enjoyed the candid conversations.
“I always feel when I’m out and about, that at any moment I might become engaged in conversation with someone who needs information, wants to complain about something or has a jewel of advice in order to help me do my job better,” Brisco said.
Brisco was busy during his first year as councillor, working on the volunteer citizen of the year committee, the Canada Day committee, as well as being part of several other groups and organizations.
Check future issues of the Observer for updates on your city council.