It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since Innovate Belleville and my campaign that put me on Belleville City Council.
It’s been a hard year. We have achieved much success. We have had some bumps in the road, but have overall been successful.
We have much to do.
I’m committed to continue bringing new ideas to Council, working morally and forthright in our resolve to be a leading City in our region and our province, and to tackle not just the easy problems, but the tough problems that we need to take on as a City.
I ran on 3 main items in 2018:
Innovate Belleville – more jobs, an economic development committee and strategic plan, customer service, Dr Recruitment.
Opportunity of Abundance for all – Better services, more opportunities for our disadvantaged.
A new strategic plan for the next 12 years
Here is an update to Council from my end, coming into 2020.
We launched an Economic and Destination Development Committee in May with myself in the Chair. We have just completed a strategic plan, and it will come to council shortly. It identifies 3 main areas to which Belleville can improve economic development including job retention and development, economic expansion, and tourism marketing. Most importantly, this includes measurables to which we will keep track of our progress and set targets for our city.
Recently, I asked for a staff report at council to create a new Exceptional Customer Service Policy at City Hall. This will be implemented to raise the bar at all departments, and I will ask for implementation of measures that allow us to track and keep improving customer service at the City.
Doctor recruitment continues to be successful for the City of Belleville, but we are still behind, needing still as many as 25 doctors. I brought attention for Nurse Practitioners, whom have been given the same scope as doctors on many fronts, and can handle some of the load we need for Belleville. There may be more we can do in 2020, and there is definitely room for more work to be done.
Council has, in my opinion, been very successful in addressing many group’s needs that support our most vulnerable, but there is still more work to do. Grace Inn, the new warming room at the Victoria Avenue Baptiste Church, money for Quinte Hospice, and the Quinte Humane Society are all new initiatives that Council have undertaken in 2019.
We had a successful Housing Summit in March. We talked about Secondary Unit incentives in July. This is coming back with a CIP with affordable housing during our Operating Budget in April 2020. We have much to do in housing, and I’m making this a priority for me in 2020.
Pop-Ups on the Bay launched this year unfortunately not on the Bay with the flooding. It was still amazing to see Brick Oven Pizza, Golden Scoop Ice Cream, and Doug’s Bicycle open at Riverside Park, and we are hoping for a successful 2020! I’m hopefully we can be back on the Bay, and can include a waterfront/watersport tenant for this summer.
I’ve been incredibly happy with the work some of the committees I sit on have done. Our Downtown is ready to flourish thanks to the incredible team on the DBIA, with a new strategic plan, and a new brand. It has been great to see the change in downtown, and I’m more than happy with the new team leading the DBIA and downtown Belleville, as well as the new brand! Be a part of it.
Our Youth Committee is rocking, with now 4 youth on the committee, lead by Councillor Sean Kelly. This committee is committed to having a youth voice on all committees, and will work with Belleville groups for a new youth forum in 2020.
The Grant Committee has just made its arts funding easier to apply for, and doubled arts grants in 2019! That’s great for the arts in Belleville!
We are still to complete our new strategic plan for the City, but it is scheduled for spring. New CAO Rod Bovay will lead this for our group, and I look forward to contributing to this.
My goals for 2020 include:
- Getting approved and carrying out our Economic Development Strategic Plan including job creation and support, economic, residential, and commercial development, servicing industrial land, and tourism development including creating a new place-based Belleville marketing plan.
- An exceptional customer service policy and plan carried out
- Seeing a Primary Health Care plan carried out, so we can address as much of the shortage of health care needs as possible
- Working with Council on housing. We need action, and I am looking forward to staff suggestions for debate around the horseshoe during operation budget this spring
- A very successful 2020 Pop-Ups on the Bay!
- A youth voice on all committees
- Completing a new 12-year strategic plan for the City of Belleville – a blueprint for the future of Belleville.
Allyson and I wish all of you, your friends and family, a very healthy and Merry Christmas, and a happy new year. May we continue to build Belleville in 2020!