Mayor Sharon Gaetz ran down a list of some of the achievements by City of Chilliwack during her 2014 Inaugural Address in council chambers Tuesday night.
“We’ve had a busy term,” Gaetz told the crowd, after thanking everyone from staff, outgoing councillors, to committee members and the community.
A new library in Sardis, the long-awaited contact centre, and the spanking new synthetic turf were some of the milestones highlighted.
Council was piped into chambers for the 2014 Inauguration Ceremony by piper Kendal Clarke, and the swearing in ceremony was conducted by Judge Thomas Crabtree. Major Angus Haggerty led the invocation, and Kevin Biegel played piano and son, Tanner, led off O Canada.
She gave appreciation to all who oversaw “a demanding” election process this fall.
“It has been my privilege to preside as Mayor of Chilliwack for the past two terms and tonight it is with great pleasure and humility that I continue as leader of this team,” she told a full house.
“Thank you to the residents of Chilliwack for placing your trust in me and the people around this table.”
It was a choice by voters “to allow us to cast vision and direction for the next four years,” she told council, adding, “I look forward to working together this term.”
A few of the major accomplishments the mayor mentioned included:
•The Sardis Library
-The 10,600 sq ft library opened May 2013 with environmental considerations and sustainable design to cut operating costs and conserve resources.
“The Sardis Library has been very well used and has been an astonishing success.”
• Exhibition Park Synthetic Turf Field
This $2m field opened in October 2013
“This field is also environmentally friendly. We used recycled tires for the base of the field, and unlike grass fields, it doesn’t require irrigation or fertilizers.
“Being physically fit and active is important to our community and we know this field helps contribute to a healthy community.
•The Chilliwack Health and Housing Contact Centre
“But what is unique is how we are working on these social issues and helping our community’s marginalized individuals.
One solution that came to fruition was the Chilliwack Health and Housing Contact Centre, a “one stop shop” with housing, and other services.
Awards included being named by First Conference Board of Canada’s Mid-Sized Cities Outlook 2013 as one of the fastest growing mid-sized economies in Canada.
“We were recognized as one of the top 10 BC Towns for Investment in 2013 by the Real Estate Investment Network,” Gaetz said.
“To our new Council: Chilliwack residents have honoured us with their trust and I look forward to working with you on the pressing issues and challenges we face.
“You have presented yourself as people who are competent team players and I believe the community has chosen wisely.
We have our work cut out for us. We will have to continue to commit to being fiscally conservative in order to continue to keep our taxes low and to keep financial burden light for our citizens.
We have, in the past, adopted the pay-as-you-go philosophy. This has stood us in good stead and as such, we are in excellent financial shape.”
As a group, council will “continue to work at all times for the best interests of the people of Chilliwack.
“We all stepped forward to serve because we love this community and share the common goals of wanting it to be safe, healthy and prosperous. We want to have Chilliwack continue to be a place of great beauty and prosperity in which we can live, work and play.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present your new Council to you.
“We are humbled by your confidence and committed to your service,” she added.