Seven city employees received 25 Year Employee Recognition Awards from Mayor Mike Ruttan on Monday, Dec. 4 during the city’s annual organizational meeting. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Status quo is no longer an option, says Mayor Mike Ruttan

Alberni mayor delivers address at organizational meeting

At the city of Port Alberni’s annual organizational meeting on Monday, Dec. 4, Mayor Mike Ruttan stressed that the status quo is no longer a viable option.

The mayor delivered his annual address, first acknowledging city staff and his fellow council members for their work over the past three years.

“In a world where civility seems to be diminishing, especially in politics, this council has demonstrated the ability to deliberate, and disagree, on various issues while remaining respectful of one another,” he said.

He added that as this council moves into their fourth and final year, their goals are unchanged, although some of the strategies to achieve those goals have been adjusted.

“The city is undergoing an important transition now,” said Ruttan. “One that holds potential, but is also forcing some difficult decisions. Like cities across this country, we must find ways of dealing with aging infrastructure, challenging economic conditions, and the responsibility of creating and maintaining a healthy and sustainable environment.”

In their five-year budget plan, council has planned for an annual increase in funding that the city can direct towards infrastructure renewal, which will also help the city be less operationally dependent on taxation revenues from heavy industry.

“By being fiscally responsible today, we set the city up for success in the future,” he said.

Ruttan also brought up another emerging new priority in Port Alberni—the need to help people living at risk. “Issues such as drug addiction, crime and homelessness were previously regarded to be ‘big city problems,’” he said. “But these issues are at our doorstep.”

Council is making an effort to address these issues by looking for “new and progressive approaches,” and by supporting local agencies and advocacy groups.

By installing bike lanes along major corridors in 2017, the city hopes to foster a more pedestrian and cycle-friendly city that connects citizens. Ruttan said that council’s goal is to create a connected community.

“One in which all people, whatever their economic, mobility or age status, can move from place to place easily and safely,” he added.

Council also has plans to invest into solar-electric power generation. The city will be issuing an RFP over the next year to seek the best value solar generation project for one or more city-owned facilities.

“Such a project might be the first of several for the city,” said Ruttan.

The city will be seeing other changes over the coming years.

“For much of Port Alberni’s history, the recipe for our economic success was simple,” said Ruttan. “A strong forest industry, bolstered by healthy pulp and manufacturing sectors, once drove growth and prosperity for our city. But with these sectors now a fraction of their former size, we all recognize that one-dimensional focus must change.”

The city’s economic development department has identified six sectors of the economy within which Port Alberni is situated for growth: aerospace and air transport, agriculture (including in the marine environment), education, forestry with an emphasis on emerging maximized wood biomass technologies, ship-building and marine transportation and tourism.

Ruttan also wanted to note the progress the city has made on reconciliation.

“I am proud as a lifelong Alberni Valley resident that my community has taken steps forward to truth and reconciliation,” he said. “Through the newly-formed reconciliation committee, we look to strengthen relationships with our First Nations, increase cultural awareness and understanding and support an inclusive and welcoming community.”

He finished his address by hinting, “This council has set our sights on some very ambitious projects for the city of Port Alberni over the next year, the last in our mandate.”

Seven city employees were awarded with 25 Year Recognition Awards during the organizational meeting: Herb Nadig, Ed Francoeur, Alan Loiselle, Shayla Britton, Rondi Shanks, Karina Kobus and Sandra Oickle. Janette Harrison was not present, but also received a 25 Year Employee Recognition Award.

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP investigating after tires slashed in Port Alberni neighbourhood

RCMP are looking for anyone with information or video surveillance

Port Alberni writer featured at Alberni Valley Words on Fire

Vicki Drybrough’s poetry and short stories have been published in anthologies and literary journals

Tour de Rock alumni ride through Port Alberni

Event was scaled down this year in response to COVID-19

Third brewery on the way for Port Alberni

Alberni Brewing Company hopes to open in early 2021

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

Shawnigan Lake’s Kubica gets 25 to life for murder in California

Former Shawnigan Lake man convicted of killing woman in 1990

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

Duration of Tour de Rock stop in Chemainus much shorter than usual

Four alumni riders don’t get to come for breakfast in COVID year

Most Read