As another busy and productive year draws to an end, I am happy to share some of the successes and initiatives that the City has undertaken in 2019.
The paving on Airport Road has now been completed, with Airport improvements ongoing.
We celebrated the completion of the façade improvements at the Airport, and are looking forward to continuing to make improvements in the upcoming years.
The Toop Road upgrades are substantially completed with some minor deficiencies that will be addressed in the new year.
The City has once again seen strong investment in 2019. Building permit numbers are up over last year with almost $35 million in new investment.
Our business license numbers are also up this year, and we have had some major industry upgrades that will help secure our future. This summer was very trying for our forest industry and the many families it supports.
The good news is that Tolko has finished its re-build after its fire and West Fraser has made some major investments in its operations.
Although they have had a couple of shut downs and shortened week days there have been no permanent closures.
Pinnacle Pellet is retooling and upgrading and Atlantic Power has signed a 10 year contract renewal with BC Hydro, so things are looking up!
We are fortunate to have Cariboo Place in our community, providing much-needed support for our seniors.
The First Avenue housing project is completed, and is an attractive addition to our downtown.
The City has partnered with the Cariboo Regional District to undertake a regional housing needs assessment to further understand our needs and be able to assist developers in addressing those needs.
The bridge to Scout Island has been installed and will enhance the enjoyment of this beautiful area.
A new electric car charging station located in the City Hall parking lot has been installed by BC Hydro, and should be fully operational early in the new year.
The City of Williams Lake and Cariboo Regional District co-hosted the North Central Local Government Association AGM and Convention the week of May 7, 2019, and it was a huge success.
Williams Lake definitely proved why we are such a great place to live and visit, and I know many will be back to enjoy our Cariboo hospitality. There were around 270 delegates in attendance.
I was pleased to be in Vancouver to support our forest industry during the UBCM Convention in September, when over 300 logging trucks and supporters descended upon Vancouver’s downtown core to bring attention to the impact that mill closures and curtailments have had on interior communities.
I was extremely proud of the independent truckers who drove from Williams Lake and other forest-dependent communities to help make sure we were heard – I know we made a lasting impression!
The Cattlemen’s Association AGM was another great event held in Williams Lake that brought many people to town.
As always, they put on an excellent event, and I thoroughly enjoyed welcoming the attendees at their Wine and Cheese, and cooking with Rotary.
The City was the host community for the BC Mine Rescue Competition in June, which brought approximately 1000 visitors to Williams Lake. It is a great event, and we are looking forward to having them back in 2020.
I would like to thank the BIA for putting on another festive Winter Lights Festival, which kicked off the holiday season on a jolly note.
I would also like to once again congratulate the recipients of Business Excellence Awards, which were presented by the Chamber of Commerce in October.
We have a very strong business community, and we thank you for your investment in Williams Lake.
As we head into the festive season, I encourage everyone to remember that dollars spent in our community stay here.
Williams Lake is home to many excellent retail stores and services, and if you are looking for something special, chances are you can find it here or it can be ordered for you.
Once again I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Walt Cobb is serving his second consecutive term as Mayor of Williams Lake.