Tis the season to smile and see the brighter side of everyone, and to look forward with optimism and hope for a brand-new year. It is my sincere hope, as Warden, that residents of our rural municipality are faced with opportunities that enhance health and wellbeing for you and your family. As your municipal government, it is our job to do all that we can to help make life better for you whether you live in Lismore, West Branch or Millbrook, St. Paul’s, Pictou Landing or Caribou. I think you get my point; we cover a lot of geographies and we must always strive to be fair and improve lives for all.
With that thought in mind, the Council is working diligently to deliver a top-quality high-speed internet service at a fair price to all residents in our municipality. We view this as an essential service and vital to keeping a growing and thriving population in our many unique rural communities. This is a different way of delivering these communication services, i.e. through your municipal government, rather than large telecommunication companies. We are confident that we can not only do it but also return profits to our Municipality to continuously upgrade and maybe someday fund other municipal programs. Our plan does not call for any increase in tax rates to implement the network. Our project will also play an important role in supplying a network that will improve cell service throughout the Municipality.
Watch for the launch of our high-speed internet system soon but please be patient; it will take considerable time to get everybody hooked up. We are hoping to have as much “fiber to the home” as possible, depending on how much assistance we can get from the other two levels of government, some of whom are still having difficulty getting past the old system and seeing that local governments can best serve ALL our residents.
The Council has an annual planning session in January each year. One of our main initiatives to be discussed this year will be setting up a “Climate Change Committee” and determining its mandate. Young people all around the world made it very clear last fall that they want us all to take action now (not just talk) so they will have a world to live in. We need to do our part. If you have ideas or would be interested in serving on or speaking to the new committee in the New Year of “hope” please contact us through our much-improved website and social media platforms. Thank you to our Communications Officer, Sueann Musick, for all your work to have us more connected to our residents and share information with them.
Our rural municipality continues to work collaboratively with the 5 Towns on many projects that benefit all Pictou County. The Regional Enterprise Network (REN) that is charged with our economic development mandate has been established and getting its operations started and we look forward to positive results. In the healthcare field we are co-sponsors with the five towns and Healthy Pictou County to support the recruitment of more doctors and to retain the ones we have. We continue to strive to make the Wellness Centre less of a financial burden on our Municipality and at the same time encourage more usage of the facility. Early in the New Year free transportation through CHAD will be offered to seniors from our rural communities on a semi-regular basis. This is a trial run to allow opportunities for seniors to enjoy an outing at the Wellness Centre for a few hours at no charge.
Time flies, especially when you are busy, and Council can be a very busy place. We are entering the final year of our 4-year elected term, finishing up in October. Then you, the residents, get your chance to grade us or perhaps put your name forward to join us. I know there is a lot of talent out there, so give it some thought.
On behalf of myself, my fellow Councillors and our valued staff, I want to wish all our rural residents a Happy New Year, one of good health and much happiness. A special welcome to all of you who have chosen over the past year to make rural Pictou County your new home. We’re mighty pleased you have made the choice you did. “Céad Mile Fáilte”.
Warden Robert Parker