(Editor’s note: we requested West Niagara’s Mayors for a review of 2020 and a look into 2021.)
By Dave Bylsma
Mayor, Twp. of West Lincoln
To suggest that 2020 was a year of an unprecedented use of the word unprecedented may be the best way to reflect on the year as whole.
Many will take stock in numerous ways, but for now I may offer what I believe to be some of the significant milestones and achievements from this year.
Probably the biggest guide to what was supposed to be a solid year was the completion of West Lincoln’s strategic plan at the close of 2019. This offered the framework for our next 10 years of focus. One key element of the plan was the reboot and launch of our new township website. This has been a great asset during this COVID-19 event. It also provides updates to the strategic plan and is a well-timed portal to communicate to our residents.
Safely, but surely, the staff have been able to maintain the township’s physical assets. Many repairs and upgrades were completed in 2020. Not the least of which was the brand new bridge over 20 Mile Creek on Reg. Rd. 69 at Campden Road and our own two bridge rehabilitations on Patterson Road and South Chippawa Road – as well as the almost-complete reconstruction of Reg. Rd. 20 right through the heart of Smithville.
In keeping with council’s desire to improve infrastructure is the securing of $4.2 million dollars in federal and provincial funds to make improvements to St. Ann’s Road. This represents one of the biggest-ever partnership grants with the other tiers of government and West Lincoln. Full credit goes to staff for securing these funds.
The joint effort with our West Niagara neighbours to propel the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital rebuild forward did not miss a beat.
This is a collaborative win for all three municipalities and the Region in conjunction with the Foundation and HHS. To be exactly on track at the end of the year is no accident.
Finally, COVID-19 closures and restrictions did hamper many of the social and community aspects of our community. Humans do not do well in lockdowns and especially seniors and those with special needs have endured great hardship. I believe I can speak for Council that we are committed to restoring these functions as safely and quickly as possible so that West Lincoln continues to be a thriving complete community.