This past week marks my one-year anniversary as a Mississippi Mills Councillor.
April 19th, 2016, was the day that Mississippi Mills Council appointed this new Almontonian, stay-at-home mom of two. Every day I am thankful for this opportunity and ready to serve my community! The learning curve was and continues to be steep though. Just when I’m coming up for air and think I have a grasp on things, there is a staff report, e-mail, or phone call that requires attention or an acronym I need to look up.
There is so much more to being a Councillor than simply reading the agenda package before a meeting. That is of course a big portion of the responsibility and time, but there are always questions to staff, and following up with other Councillors to ensure I have all of the history and information to make educated, informed decisions. I also sit on several committees such as the Daycare Advisory Committee and the Library Board and make it out to as many community events as possible. Life as a Councillor is busy and demanding to say the least but it’s been an amazing journey so far!
Looking back over the year, I participated in my first municipal budget approval process and the development of a strategic plan. The year however, hasn’t been without challenges. It feels like there has been one big decision after the other and I have learned that there will always be people for or against decisions made around the Council table. That being said, I have been inspired by the passion and love that residents and Councillors alike have for Mississippi Mills. It is this passion that drives me through the tough decisions and that together we are making Mississippi Mills a vibrant community for everyone!
Some highlights for me from the last year include attending the Long Standing Business Awards, where I got to meet and celebrate some wonderful, long-time residents of Mississippi Mills. I visited several farms as part of the Lanark Federation of Agriculture farm tour to help broaden my knowledge and understanding of rural life. Helping bring the neighbourhood micro grant program to fruition was also pretty great. Most recently, I had the privilege of attending a roundtable discussion and reception with Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Elizabeth Dowdeswell. These are only a few highlights and there are many, many more!
I would like to take a moment to acknowledge and thank my fellow Councillors who have been welcoming and always willing to meet and answer my questions. I would like to acknowledge the staff who all work so tirelessly to execute Council’s mandate and represent this Municipality throughout Ontario. Did you know that staff were asked to present on our Long-Term Financial Plan at not one, but two conferences in 2016? And did you know that Mississippi Mills has been featured in over 35 different forms of media from magazines, to radio, to television over the last year? Staff have done, and continue to do, great work for our community – Thank you. I would also like to thank those residents who have called or e-mailed with a compliment, complaint or simply a question. You keep me on my toes, accountable, and are the reason I wanted to get into municipal politics.
Looking ahead to the rest of 2017, I am excited to celebrate Canada’s 150th this summer, eager to see the upgrades to Gemmill Park, the Pakenham Library renovation complete, and walking the Greystone/Stonehome trail. I’m also looking forward to enjoying a neighbourhood potluck or two, 5 Wednesdays in July at Augusta Street Park, and to the Firefighters Breakfast.
A year has gone by, my newborn is walking, my preschooler is learning how to ride a bike, and my husband has completed another year of curling. It still all feels a bit surreal, but I am just as motivated and energized to be serving my community as I was one year ago.
Councillor, Almonte Ward