Mayor Lowry looks back at Council’s past year

Annual Address
December 17, 2019
Mayor Christa Lowry
Municipality of Mississippi Mills

It has been just over a year since we were sworn into office and as a new Council we have grown over the year and worked together to improve our municipality. We faced challenges early on with the loss of our dear colleague Deputy Mayor John Levi. John was a seasoned politician and colleague who is greatly missed. In April, Council appointed Deputy Mayor Rick Minnille who represents Mississippi Mills with charisma and heart. 

A year of opportunity 

2019 been a year of great opportunities for Mississippi Mills. We got to share the story of Dr. James Naismith with the rest of Canada and the world as a result of the Toronto Raptors winning the NBA Championships. As his proud hometown, we hosted our own Jurassic Park for the NBA finals, captured the attention of basketball worldwide and made new friends along the way at NBA Canada, the Raptors, the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield and Springfield College where Dr Naismith invented the game. We celebrated Dr. James Naismith’s birthday together as a community which I hope will now become an annual event.

Mississippi Mills may soon be known as ” Hollywood of the Ottawa Valley” as more and more film productions are set in our beautiful neighbourhoods.  In 2019, five more movies were filmed here bringing the total in recent years to 16.  Economic development of a different stripe, each of these films inject approximately $100,000 into our local economy.

Mississippi Mills continues to be promoted as one of the places to visit in Ontario especially around Christmas time due to our charming downtowns, unique shops & galleries, great coffee and restaurants and no doubt also due to the friendliness and Christmas spirit of all our citizens.

This year, the spotlight has shone on Mississippi Mills as the featured in many blogs, videos and articles across Canada:

  • LCBO Food & Drink Video Feature
  • My Wandering Voyage: Best things to do in Almonte
  • Travel Momma Blog:  Small Town Canadian Soul
  • Narcity.com  Winter Escape
  • Narcity.com 11 Romantic Spots in Canada
  • Maclean’s Best Communities in Canada
  • Maclean’s Top 100 Communities in Canada to Buy a Home

We are a community that likes to have fun and it is a pleasure for the Municipality to continue to host exciting events throughout the year such as Canada Day festivities, Movies in the Park, the Pakenham Fair, Light up the Night and the Santa Claus Parades.  Plus there are many event hosted by community organizations such as FrostFest, PorchFest, CeltFest, the North Lanark Highland Games, 5 Wednesdays in July, the Almonte Fair and Old Home Week that show the great support, community spirit and overall quality of life shared and enjoyed by our residents in Mississippi Mills.

New faces

We have had many operational changes at the Municipal Offices this year.  Our new CAO, Ken Kelly was appointed in May of this year and over the past 6 months we have worked together to prioritize and begin the development a strategic plan. We have a lot of new faces at the municipality this year.  In addition to our new CAO, we have also hired a new Fire Chief, a Public Works Operations Manager, Water Operators, a Recreation administrator and an Administration Assistant.  We are fortunate to have such talented and knowledgeable staff who work with dedication to the Municipality and its citizens every day.

Major projects

Council has seen some major projects completed this year and continues to advance others:

  • The rehabilitation of the Stewart Community Centre in Pakenham was completed this year. This major project came in on time and on budget and is being enjoyed by our residents.
  • Major construction projects have been completed on Victoria Street in Almonte, the Shaw Bridge and Pakenham crosswalks have been installed.
  • The New Daycare center located at the Holy Name of Mary school is equipped, licensed and open, providing 63 new spaces for toddlers and pre-schoolers.
  • Council is working towards improving pedestrian safety on Ottawa St. and Paterson St. We have hired and trained new crossing guards who started this week.
  • Community Official Plan Amendment #21 was recently approved by Lanark County which sets the roadmap for how our community will evolve and grow for years to come.
  • The issue of parking in downtown Almonte has been investigated to understand the challenges and outline actions to address the concerns of businesses and residents.
  • The final phase of the industrial park is being designed so that Mississippi Mills can continue to attract growing and energized businesses that will increase employment opportunities within our municipality.
  • Council has given direction to staff to take next steps with the Downtown Revitalization project which will result in further detailed designs and costing.

As we wrap up this first year of the 2018-2022 term, I am looking forward to continuing to grow and promote our municipality hand in hand with my Council colleagues and our community. In the New Year watch for updates and engagement opportunities as the 2020 Budget is finalized and as we continue work on our strategic plan.  Thank you to my fellow Council members for your hard work over 2019, thank you to staff for your expertise and advice, and thank you to the community for your inspiration. I am looking forward to another memorable year for Mississippi Mills in 2020!