Saturday January 15, 2011

City Hall

State of the City Address

Mayor says City's house is in order

Submitted by Starlee Renton, City Hall PR

 

’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on the successes of the City of Chilliwack in 2010 and look ahead to what we can expect for 2011.

 

It’s a great honour and privilege to represent the City of Chilliwack and to work with these hardworking and dedicated council members. Thank you

 

The City of Chilliwack is in the strong and enviable position is it today because of the many hours you have spent in meetings, having real discussion and making difficult decisions. You have demonstrated how people of diverse opinions can work well together to provide direction for our City.

Thank you to city staff for your great support, innovation and continued dedication to providing the very best for the residents of Chilliwack.

Thanks to the hundreds of community volunteers who've helped our departments, served on committees and advisory bodies, or stepped up for their neighborhoods or non-profits.  You are the reason Chilliwack is a great city

I know we will continue to see successes in 2011, because while we all may not agree from time to time, we are all here for the same reason, which is that we love Chilliwac

The City of Chilliwack is in very strong financial shape. Our financial house is in order and our financial planning process continues to chart a responsible course for the taxpayers of the City of Chilliwack

The City was able to fund all of its projects and commitments without the use of borrowing and with a tax increase below our neighbours.

More importantly, we accomplished this with the lowest business taxation level of the 19 lower mainland communities surveyed, along with the second lowest residential taxation level.

For building permit value, 2010 was slightly better than the 25 year average

Residential construction was down and the commercial building permit value is below average, but not alarmingly low.

The traditional pattern is that recovery begins with single detached construction but it will be multi-family construction that lifts our housing market.

This reflects the growing land shortage and escalating land price and signals a new era in Chilliwack’s housing market.

This future is a present reality for many Metro Vancouver municipalities.

The positives are concentrated in several institutional projects such as Rosedale combined school, Yarrow elementary, Chilliwack Senior Secondary and the UFV new campus renovation at CEP.

These projects are of course being funded by our Provincial government and I would be remiss if I did not thank our MLAs Barry Penner and John Les for their leadership and ensuring Chilliwack has a strong representation in Victoria.

We are working hard to balance creating a high quality of life with amenities and leisure opportunities, while creating an environment that encourages business success and keeps as much money as possible in local taxpayers’ pockets.

We are hearing positive federal and provincial indications regarding jobs lost during the 2009 recession being recouped and are also hearing positive predictions regarding a modest expansion of economy again in 2011.

We know many of our taxpayers have been affected by the slowdown. This is why we keep our tax levels where we have – 29% below the average.

Speaking of taxation, we have heard from BC Assessment that assessments were up slightly overall, which is a positive indication for the investment people have in their homes.

I just want to remind people once again, that in calculating tax rates, the City of Chilliwack adjusts away the effect of overall assessment changes.

2010 was an exciting year in Chilliwack and we accomplished so much.

In February we successfully hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic Torch Relay and community celebration. 12,000 members of our community attended this well planned event

In May, we reopened the Cheam Leisure Centre which now sees almost 700 visitors a day. Last month the Landing Leisure Centre celebrated its 3 millionth visitor

In September, Chilliwack’s very own Cultural Centre opened and our community is so much richer for it.

We are so pleased to have the Arts Council and the Music Academy as Core partners in the facility and to have the Cultural Centre Board operating the facility on our behalf.

In November we completed the addition to the Landing Sports Centre which will be the new home for the Players Guild

We also commenced the design and construction for the new Archives addition onto Evergreen Hall with the expected completion this spring.

Federal and provincial funding of nearly 7 million enabled us to upgrade the Tyson-Stevenson sewer system for 442 residents, make improvements to Lickman road and also upgrade the East and West dykes.

We have a lot on the horizon for 2011

You told us that having a vibrant downtown is a major community priority and so we formed the downtown revitalization task force to look for ways to speed up this process.

Changes are already taking place and we’re looking forward to the task force recommendations in the near future.

You told us that transportation is a priority and we can’t wait to work with our partners to create better and sustainable transportation options for you to get where you need to go.

We’re excited that the Fraser Valley Transit report was released last month and we’re looking forward to the community discussion on this blueprint for improvements.

2011 will bring so many more occasions to celebrate and I look forward to the future with anticipation of what is yet to come.

We have a dedicated Council, strong staff support, an engaged citizenry and a vibrant business community. It’s going to be a great year.

 

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