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

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

Just Posted

Aidan See played for the North Island Silvertips during the 2019-2020 season. (PHOTO COURTESY RON HAYES)
VIJHL: Port Alberni Bombers add hometown talent to roster

Junior B hockey club signs Aidan See, Blake Power and Grayson Erickson

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station destroyed by fire after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Most Read