By Nikki Jamieson
Westwind Weekly News
2020 was a challenging year for many municipalities due to the pandemic.
“We worked hard to ensure compliance with provincial COVID-19 regulations and guidelines, and to keep our residents safe and businesses going. 2020 was a year like no other and we are hoping to return to more normalcy in local government and social life,” said Abe Tinney, director of legislative services for the Town of Raymond.
“While 2020 was an extremely challenging year, we were inspired by people adapting to our new social realities with innovative solutions.”
The town had to reduce services such as public skating and usage of their facilities, temporarily suspend some such as the aquatic centre and significantly alter other services, such as their annual Canada Day celebrations — which last year had featured a reverse parade and reduced programming compared to previous years.
Despite these lemons, the town was able to make some lemonade as well, as they were forced to think differently in how they delivered services. For example, they started recording a live streaming of their meetings, with some councillors not being physically present at a meeting in months. Tinney also applauded the innovation of staff and community groups in putting on the reverse Canada Day parade, which allowed everyone involved to stay socially-distanced.
“The conventional parade would not work due to provincial physical-distancing guidelines, so the parade vehicles were parked while the onlookers were able to drive by and view the floats.”
The Town of Raymond — which is included under the County of Warner region on the province’s COVID-19 status map — has been “relatively safe” during the pandemic.
“We have a great town and great residents and if restrictions are still in place in 2021 we can expect to see our community pull together and make the most of our new realities,” said Tinney. “We are hoping the government and health care industry gain better control of the virus and its symptoms, so we can move back to normalcy. However, we will continue to adjust to provincial restrictions and do our best to offer programming and facilities, where possible.”
Looking ahead in 2021, planned capital projects include the expansion of the walking trail and continued planning of the town’s sewage lagoon project. The operations crew will also be installing infrastructure in two new developments.