This has been a challenging year for all. I applaud the ingenuity of our local business owners and community organizations for finding creative ways to continue to operate throughout the pandemic.
Most of our businesses pivoted to new and innovative ways to continue to serve the public, whether it was restaurants changing to take-out or delivery models or food trucks, or temporary food services opening during the summer months. COVID-19 recommendations meant local businesses had to install plexiglass barriers, wear masks, limit the number of customers, install hand sanitizing stations, etc. in order to stay open.
Although most of the usual events and activities that are normally held in the community had to be cancelled or postponed, some found ways to go on.
There were drive-by birthday greetings and outdoor weddings, and the longstanding Clinton Annual Ball was held with fewer than a dozen attending in order to be able to keep the continuity of the event going. Artists, artisans, and crafters have showcased their wares virtually. The need for secure, fast, reliable internet connections has never been more critical.
So many times, members of the community stepped up to help friends, neighbours, and strangers. Some offered to pick up prescriptions or groceries for others. Some local businesses also offered delivery services. The generosity of the community did not waiver, with donations to the local food bank, the “Cram the Cruiser” food and toy drive, the Credit Union Christmas stocking campaign, and more.
The Village of Clinton had to put some projects on hold due to the pandemic, but we look forward to seeing these advancing in the new year. These include the construction of a new public works building, to replace the old barn-type building beside the Memorial Hall that currently houses public works. The long-waited Zoning Bylaw update will move forward. This requires public input, so we are looking at ways to include the public in the process.
The implementation of the Five-Year Economic Development Plan is also scheduled to get underway early in 2021. The parks masterplan is another project that will include public input. The Housing Needs Assessment has been completed and will be presented to council in the new year.
Speaking of housing needs, it is so gratifying to finally see the construction of the new 20-unit seniors’ housing facility underway. There has been a dedicated group led by Judy Hampton working on this project since fall of 2011. The contractor on this job, Maloney Construction from Kelowna, has been working up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week as the weather allowed.
I especially want to thank West Fraser Lumber for the generous donation of lumber for this project (valued at over $83,000). West Fraser’s Adrian Plante, general manager of Canadian Wood Products; Brian Balkwill, vice president of Canadian Solid Wood; and Wade Dyck, Chasm Sawmill site manager, were given a tour of the construction site by Chris Maloney of Maloney Construction in late November.
In closing, I want to thank everyone in Clinton who has been following the provincial recommendations for keeping us all safe. We are all tired of this pandemic, but now is not the time to relax safety measures. There is a vaccine coming, but in the meantime we all must remain diligent and continue to take measures to keep each other safe. Thank you to every person who continues to do their part.
A huge Thank You goes out to our village employees for taking on extra duties, etc. during this past year. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.
Wishing everyone all the best for 2021.
Susan Swan is the mayor of the Village of Clinton.
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