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Mayor reflects on 2017 in Laurentian Valley

By Celina Ip

LAURENTIAN VALLEY – Another year has wrapped up in Laurentian Valley with plenty to look back on.

During the Jan. 9 council in committee meeting, Mayor Steve Bennett presented his 2017 year-end report as he looked over some of council’s key accomplishments for the township.

Bennett began by commending the township officials, emergency services and volunteers who assisted residents through the harrowing 2017 spring fooding event – when water levels were on record highs in Renfrew County and all through Eastern Ontario.

As 2017 marked Canada’s 150 anniversary of Confederation, Bennett highlighted the township’s creation of a Canada 150th committee which executed and partnered with other recreation organizations on a number of successful Canada 150 events, including having teamed up with the City of Pembroke for a spectacular fireworks show on Canada Day.

Along with the Canada 150 celebrations, 2017 was a big year of growth for the township’s recreational services. Among those accomplishments, the township received a $50,000 Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Grant to improve the historic Alice and Fraser Outdoor Rink – with the boards having been installed by the end of 2017. Further to that, the township was successful with its application for funding from the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program to assist in converting portions of the former CP railway corridor within Laurentian Valley, into a cycling commuter route as part Renfrew County’s Algonquin Trail. Most recently, the township created an outdoor skating trail which will be officially unveiled during the 2018 Alice in Winterland Carnival.

In the realm of public works, Bennett commended public works manager Mark Behm on greatly improving the township’s roads in 2017 – with the reconstruction of Achray Road, Cheryl Street East, Martha Avenue, Bess Street and Brooklyn Street. Further to that, the storm sewer system on Cheryl Street East was developed, and the streets were cleaned up with brushing and roadside mowing.

The Laurentian Valley Fire Department also had many accomplishments for the township in 2017, as it successfully ran a spring boot drive to raise money for CHEO, and they hauled water to help in building the rinks at Alice and Fraser and Shady Nook Recreation Centre.

Now that Laurentian Valley has stepped into 2018, Bennett shared his aspirations for the township as it looks to further grow and prosper in the future.

Above all, Bennett expressed that he looks forward to working with council and staff to update the township’s strategic plan which will provide them with guidance and direction for the upcoming years.

Moving forward, he pledged that council will continue to work with its municipal partners through open dialogue and joint committees and that it will continue to lobby the provincial and federal governments for any funds that are available through grant incentives.

“I am extremely proud of this current council and their hard work and dedication over the last three years. I look forward to a productive 2018 and our final year of mandate,” said Bennett. “To our staff and CAO, thank you for your vast knowledge and guidance in helping council make our township proud. We can’t forget the members of our fire department, headed by Chief Tim Sutcliffe, who give a lot of  time and efforts to protect our community. We must also continue to work with our volunteers to give them the support they require to provide activities and functions in our township. Finally, I look forward to attending the upcoming winter carnival and the new skating trail, which I encourage all to come out and enjoy.”

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