Happy New Year from Mayor and Council
Usually I would start my year-end column by talking about the great accomplishments we’ve been able to make throughout the year. This year, however, has been anything but usual.
For the last 11 months, we have been in the grips of the worst public health crisis in more than a century. Everyone’s lives have been turned upside down and inside out.
I’m incredibly proud of how responsibly the vast majority of King Township’s residents have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by wearing masks, practicing physical distancing and following restrictions on gatherings. There is no question it has been difficult for everyone, but we need to continue our vigilance throughout 2021. The health and safety of ourselves and our loved ones is paramount.
Despite the restrictions put in place, King has been able to continue delivering all essential and most non-essential services. We’ve been able to do this because our staff has been able to find innovative ways to continue serving the community.
Literally overnight, most King staff were able to start working remotely thanks to our small but mighty Information Technology department. They’ve also been able to host virtual meetings of all kinds, including Council, Committee of Adjustment and Public Information Centres.
Building permits and various other applications can now be done electronically and we rolled out a curbside pickup service program for things like blue and green bins and library services. Our King at Home recreation program – which included Camp in a Box – was a huge success and we’ve also launched virtual recreation programming and classes.
In partnership with Central Counties Tourism, we provided pop-up patios to two businesses in Schomberg to expand outdoor dining space while supporting physical distancing within Schomberg’s historic commercial core patios.
I’ve heard some people question whether or not our staff have been working as much given that the Municipal Centre has been closed to the public since March. I can say without a doubt this year was as busy, if not busier, than any other year. Our CAO Daniel Kostopoulos recently held an all-staff, year-end virtual meeting that Council also watched to go over this year’s accomplishments. Judging by the following list, it’s clear staff and Council have been extremely productive.
I’m extremely proud of the work council and staff have done to continue delivering the services our residents expect and deserve, even when faced with the countless obstacles the pandemic has thrown in our way.
There is one final thing I’d like to ask the community for help as we enter 2021 – AND, I’ve been repeating it over and over … Now, more than ever, we need to help our local businesses. The year 2020 has been hard on almost all sectors of the economy. Many businesses in King are doing their best to hold on, but they need our support.
As 2020 has drawn to a close, please take time to think about those we have lost to COVID-19 and those who continue to work on the frontline of the health-care system. Think about your loved ones and reach out to them virtually.
With news of vaccines on the way, please remain hopeful that 2021 will be a better year.
I wish you and yours a safe, peaceful and prosperous New Year.
King Township Mayor
- Mayor Steve Pellegrini