Thank you very much to all those 38 people who took the time to tell us what we are doing well, what we need to work on, and who gave us a grade for our first year in our Council chairs. The grade was a B-, which is better than average, and it means we have more work to do to improve in the next year. There were 6 "A"s, 20 "B"s, 10 "C"s, 2 "D"s and 0 "F"s.
There might have been a little controversy in the decision about "how" to get this information and "where" to get money to pay for the idea, but there was never a question about whether Council wanted to hear from residents about their concerns and the things you are happy with. Everyone on Council wants to hear from you as often as you wish to take the time to talk with any of us. We are all grateful we live where we do, we get the chance to talk about good ideas, and that we may each, occasionally, be on the minority side of an issue. It comes with the territory when you are elected. As members of Council, we expect to have some differences of opinion, just like we might have, in any conversation, just about anywhere in our lives. When we disagree on Council – it creates a place for a productive conversation and one of the reasons why we live in the best country in the world. We all support the majority decisions made by Council, and we all thank you for your report card comments.
What did you say? You said some really nice things about how the staff handled the winter snow last year, you liked the improvements to playgrounds, the cleanliness of the Town, the beautification with flowers and the work done to try and address flood related issues. Each of these areas got multiple positive comments. There was satisfaction with the progress on the new Mountain View Seniors Housing project that has officially broken ground, the attempts to fix deteriorating sidewalks and roads, staff accessibility, and an improvement in attending to the importance of growing business or bringing business into the area. There were positive comments about the improved relationship with Mountain View County, the fact we are asking you for your opinion, improvements in communication, and real support for trying to keep taxes low.
Suggestions and concerns outnumbered satisfied comments. Fix some sidewalks and streets, fix the road by Tim Hortons and make the downtown more safe & pedestrian friendly were the issues that received comments from more than one resident. There were single comment suggestions to fix the arena heaters, cancel sani-dump fees for Town residents, put less gravel at intersections in the winter, plant more trees on Main Street, better recreation signage, better cat bylaw enforcement, encourage more variety in local businesses, have more activities available for families, better enforcement of speeding and noise on Main Street, and a number of other suggestions that will be taken to Council in a document longer than this article will allow.
This is a very short summary of the four pages of notes in the summary of comments. All received comments will be presented to Council for consideration. Some we may be able to do, without much impact to budget, some we can fix easily, and some will certainly take longer. In the next year, we will try to report to you on our progress on these concerns at Council meetings, through this article each month, through open houses on topics like improvements in the downtown and through conversations you may wish to have with any Council member.
So, what happened to the $100 draw prize? I will leave that a mystery in our community. One lucky ratepayer in town who filled out the survey will get a call from me with a $100 gift. Because we are the community of Sundre and District, and because we value the opinions of all members of our community, whether they live in Town or in the County, there will be another $100 gift to a County resident. In our "tech-connected” community, how long do you think it will take for the winners to be known if I don't tell you who they are?
Thank you again to everyone who took the time to fill out this survey for us.
Mayor Terry Leslie