As 2020 arrived, many of us looked back on 2019 as much as we look forward. For me 2019 has been a fantastic year, although it could have been better.

I am thankful for so many things from 2019

I am thankful and honoured to have been chosen to represent you at City Hall. I will continue to do my best, and certainly welcome all feedback. Decisions will continue to be based on the best information that is available at the time of the decision, after very careful consideration. I also welcome the viewpoints of others, both supportive and opposing, so that many options are considered.

I am thankful for my friends and family. They have provided the encouragement and guidance needed to help through some very challenging times, and they have made everything better. I am especially thankful for Donna, and look forward to our wedding this summer.

We are constantly reminded about our health, and I am thankful to have good health. We’ve seen the struggles and concerns of those who have physical or mental health challenges, of those who have strong enough allergies that they need an epi-pen immediately present, and of those who had good health in the past but have challenges now. We recognize diversity, but we have to recognize accessibility as well.

Freedom KitchenI am thankful for the shelter and food that is available. We are working to ensure this is available for others as well. The Freedom Kitchen, the Square Roots Food Garden, the Sackville Area Warming Centre, and the spirit of our community where giving back is a way to make things better, all make Sackville a much better place to be. These are a start, and there is much more that can be done.

I learned a lot in 2019

Part of what I learned is that our concerns are far more diverse and far more important than I realized. The Municipal government really is the grass roots level of politics. Services offered by the municipal government have more of a day-to-day impact on our lives than those offered by other levels of government. Water, snow clearing, garbage and recycling, and everything related to neighbourhood streets start a long list.

I am continuing to learn what we need, what makes HRM work, and how to get those two in alignment. Some things are easier — like getting a guard rail along the Cobequid Road so that we don’t have another tragedy there. Some things are harder — like making the intersection at Walker Ave and Old Sackville Road, by the bus terminal, safer.

Glendale and Rankin Crosswalk DrawingI’ve also learned that I have to champion certain causes, as did the councillor before me, to ensure that those causes get moved forward. The crosswalks on Glendale have been a prime example of that where we expected the work to be completed in 2019 but, because of some engineering challenges and other challenges, the work won’t actually be started until early 2020. Another example is the work that needs to be done to make the Beaver Bank Connector safer, especially at Exit 2 and at Old Sackville Road.

Those projects are under way, and so I’m trying to get sidewalks on Old Beaver Bank Road and Stokil Drive. This will take time, potentially years, but I am going to continue to work on it.

And I’m learning more about me – about what I’m good at, and about where I can improve. These past few months have been a humbling process, but it has also been worth it. I’ve seen so many things that make Sackville an incredible place to live.

Through all of this I’m reminded of a quote by Muhammed Ali – “Impossible is an opinion”. Sometimes a solution is hard to see; sometimes it takes a lot of work to ensure that the vision of a solution is shared by others; sometimes it takes time to work through the process and to ensure that there is funding for a solution; and sometimes it takes a long time to get a project from inception to completion, but it is not impossible. Our community is too important to think otherwise.

This has been my 2019. It was a year when there were many successes and some failures. Fortunately the successes were more plentiful, and fortunately I learned something from each success and from each failure.

As we move in to 2020, I would like to wish you, and your family and friends, the very best year yet.