Happy New Year. As we begin 2018, we can look back at three years of work fulfilling the promises and commitments made during the election that put this Council into office. This Council has stabilized spending, rebuilt the District of Sechelt organization and conducted our affairs in an open, transparent and civil manner. I am confident we will conclude our term of office on the same path we set for ourselves at the beginning - ensuring we have a stable and sustainable future in the District of Sechelt.
A number of projects initiated in 2017 helped get us closer to our vision of Sechelt. In particular, two significant policy initiatives kicked-off in 2017: an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan that will update the long-term vision for the community, and a Parks Master Plan that will identify the community’s priorities in regard to parks and other recreational areas over the next 10 years. Public input was sought for establishing both policies, and the results will be brought to Council and the public in the first half of 2018.
Council has directed staff to investigate opportunities at both the Airport and the Sechelt Inlet Wharf that will ensure these operations are self-funding and will allow the District to consider potential new or expanded uses of these facilities in the future. The results of these investigations will be brought forward to Council and to the public in 2018.
In 2017 we also tackled one of the more significant concerns for all taxpayers – the financial sustainability of our municipality. The five-year financial plan Council adopted last spring started the District on a path to ensure long-term financial stability. For example, the District’s annual operating costs are now fully funded with annual revenue (no need to draw from reserves) and the capital budgets will be increasing each year to allow the District to maintain our capital assets to ensure they are available for many years to come.
In the next few weeks the details of our 2018 budget will be discussed at a series of Committee meetings. These meetings are open to the public and offer a chance to hear an in-depth discussion of operational costs and of those capital projects which will take priority for 2018. In 2016, this Council began live-streaming all regular Council meetings and most public information meetings. New for 2018, we will live-stream all Committee meetings as well as Council meetings on the District of Sechelt’s YouTube channel.
If you have comments, questions or suggestions I encourage you to attend one of our Council or Committee meetings held at the Sechelt Municipal/Library building on Wednesdays (see the detailed schedule at sechelt.ca). You can also send Council an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All email received at that address is considered for inclusion in our public Council meeting agendas.
All the best for 2018!