2017 is another year full of promise and opportunity, and we’ve got lots of excitement on the horizon.
In last month’s issue, I talked about everything we achieved together in 2016. Now I’d like to talk about everything we’re going to achieve and continue working toward in 2017.
2016 was the Year of Reconciliation for Winnipeg, and although the year is over, our efforts certainly are not. I continue to encourage everyone, as individuals or businesses, to consider ways in which you and your organization can honour the truth, reconcile for the future, and respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls-to-action. We’ve made some great progress in this area, but we still have a long way to go.
I will continue with my commitment to visit every high school in Winnipeg, where I get the opportunity to speak with and listen to thousands of young Winnipeggers. The inspiration and hope I get from engaging with our future leaders, and seeing the amazing things they are already doing, keeps building momentum and keeps me motivated to strive for positive change in our city.
We’ll also continue to recognize and reward the contributions our young people make to the community through the Mayor’s Scholarship for Community Leadership.
We’ve been working to identify ways to remove barriers and open up access to the Canada Learning Bond, through the Winnipeg Promise. This will give more of our citizens a chance to succeed and have access to educational opportunities. We’ll continue this important work in 2017.
This year will benefit from Winnipeg’s first Integrity Commissioner, who will provide advice and recommendations to members of Council concerning ethical behaviour and the City’s Code of Conduct. This has been a long time coming for Winnipeg, and it will certainly improve openness and transparency in our governance.
We’ll keep forging ahead with the second stage of rapid transit, and Winnipeggers will see improved traffic flows throughout the city with the first ever Transportation Management Centre. We’re also set to begin work on the long-anticipated Waverley underpass, and we’ll continue to make road repair a top priority by getting the contracts out early and making sure the $105-million we debated in the council budget is being spent properly.
Last year Winnipeg received a lot of recognition in national and international media as a great place to visit and live, and I want to keep this going in 2017. We’ve had the honour of hosting a number of large events over the last couple of years including the Grey Cup and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Annual Conference, and there’s plenty more ahead in 2017. This summer, we’ll welcome over 4,000 athletes and coaches and more than 20,000 visitors for the 2017 Canada Games.
This year is Canada’s 150th birthday, and there will be many celebrations throughout the city. It’s a great time to reflect on what it means to be Canadian, and to appreciate everything we have as Canadians and Winnipeggers. To me, being Canadian means embracing values of openness, compassion, diversity, and acceptance.
We’ll continue welcoming new immigrants and doing our part to help them settle in with the Winnipeg Private Refugee Sponsorship Assurance Program.
I want to thank Winnipeggers for the opportunity to serve as your Mayor. I look forward to building on the strong momentum we have achieved so far. I will continue supporting and positioning our City for growth as we move toward one million people strong!
On behalf of the City of Winnipeg, and from my family to yours, I wish you all a happy, healthy, and successful year ahead.