As 2021 comes to a close Mayor Al McDonald is reflecting on the year that was and is looking ahead to 2022.
He’s encouraging residents to be confident in their city.
“You see our real estate numbers are off the chart, the demand for our housing has never been stronger in our history. There’s new people moving to our community, there’s a vibrancy,” he says. “Have confidence in your city that it’s going in the right direction for the future.”
McDonald says there were plenty of highlights in 2021.
“Our mandate was to ‘Grow Our City’ and to create jobs. We’ve had great success and had the best building year ever this year in our history. If you look at active transportation, all the bike lanes we put in place. The Community Safety and Well-Being Plan was adopted,” McDonald says. “What really stood out to me the most was the fact that we had the lowest COVID cases per 100k in the province. I think that really spoke to how our community really rallied.”
Challenges in 2021 included the pandemic and issues around mental health, addictions and homelessness.
“This is where all three levels of government, all of our community partners and our community need to be part of the solution. We can’t just point our fingers at ourselves, or other levels of government, or our community partners and say fix it,” he says. “It’s going to take all of us working together to find those gaps and fill those gaps.”
2021 marks the final full year that McDonald will be mayor.
In late October, he announced he won’t be running in next fall’s municipal election.
However, he says there’s plenty still on the agenda in 2022.
McDonald says the first priority is getting through this fifth wave of the pandemic.
“Second, is job creation and growth. We are going to continue to push on that front so that we can be sustainable well into the future,” he says.
Mcdonald says the third priority is to work with all of their partners on addictions, mental health and homelessness.