Cornwall - Jan. 2, 2011 - The following speech was given by Mayor Bob Kilger at the inaugural meeting of Cornwall City Council on December 1st, 2010:
Dear Friends …
It is nice to see so many friendly faces here this evening and also to welcome so many distinguished guests to the Civic Complex.
Je vous remercie d'etre des notres ce soir.
I am honored to address you this evening as your Mayor. It is a position that I hold a great deal of respect for, as I believe Cornwall is one of the best cities in Canada. Cornwall is a city with a rich history. Its citizens form a vibrant cultural mosaic and together we are known around the world for our friendly nature.
The companies that call Cornwall home are some of the best in Canada - and our institutions second to none. Our city - our community - has incredible wealth - wealth in history, wealth in accomplishments, wealth in spirit and wealth in potential for growth. The protection of that wealth, the nurturing of that potential is the personal challenge I have accepted, not just for you and me, but for our children and our grandchildren.
To the Councillors who I will serve with for the next four years, I would like to congratulate, each of you on your election victory. When you made the decision to put forward your name to serve your community, you did so knowing that there would be many demands on your time and many challenges and issues to address. This job takes a lot of time and a lot of effort - but the rewards are many. We have been charged with governing this wonderful City, and its citizens have placed trust in our ability to make sound decisions, to nurture new ideas and to develop a vision for a sustainable, progressive city. It is our responsibility to honour the trust our community has given us with compassion, commitment and integrity. I look forward to working closely with you in the days, weeks and months ahead.
Tous ceux qui ont pose leur candidature au service de la ville, ainsi que les anciens conseillers municipaux Kim Baird, Mary Ann Hug et Mark MacDonald, meritent nos eloges pour le devouement dont ils ont fait preuve envers la ville de Cornwall.
Four years ago, Cornwall was at a crossroads and people were unsure where the City was headed. At the time, I said that a strong focused economic development effort will help attract new people and new businesses to the City.
Today, four years later, Cornwall has welcomed new companies, and new residents. In the midst of a worldwide financial crisis, we saw building activity reach record levels. We surged while others faltered, and in the process diversified our economy and saw new employment opportunities for our residents. We aggressively pursued partnerships with both Queen's Park and Parliament Hill, and our efforts, along with those of MPP Jim Brownell and MP Guy Lauzon, saw an unprecedented investment in our City.
Today, we are firmly on a path with a clear goal: to develop Cornwall as a top tier urban centre in Canada. By this I mean a city where people enjoy a great quality of life, and where businesses can thrive. It is a city where people can succeed - no matter what your personal vision of success may be.
Some would say we have already achieved these goals, yet it is clear that much work remains. It is true that our economy is strong - but one thing history tells us is that economies have a disturbing tendency to change. We must continue to pursue new investment, to seek out progressive companies that can provide our citizens with new employment opportunities. We must encourage local entrepreneurial spirit while supporting the vision of our existing businesses. Diversification remains the best strategy for long-term sustainable growth.
We will soon open the doors to the Benson Centre, a long awaited facility that will provide improved sporting and recreational opportunities for residents - of any age. Yet even as we have met the recreational needs of our community, we must now pay attention to its artistic and cultural needs. The City's arts and culture community is a flame that can only burn brighter if it is encouraged, and the ongoing cultural planning exercise is the first step towards developing a strategy to address this important part of our community.
As a City, we have supported the Cornwall Community Hospital and various other health care related initiatives. I believe we have seen incredible progress in the development of facilities and programs - not the least of which is a new EMS headquarters - yet more work needs to be done. We must continue our efforts to bring new medical professionals to Cornwall and to ensure that our families, friends and neighbours have access to medical care when they need it.
Earlier this year, we welcomed news that the Federal Government is proceeding with plans to replace the aging Seaway International Bridge. This will return to Cornwall more than a kilometer of land in the middle of the City - but more importantly it will improve the physical connection between Akwesasne and Cornwall. Yet even as we applaud this work, we still must pursue a permanent solution to the Port of Entry.
2011 will see the start of one of the largest capital projects the City has ever undertaken: our secondary wastewater treatment facility. This will help us achieve our goals of reducing the impact of our community on the natural environment, yet it highlights once again the need to be vigilant when it comes to the planning and financing of capital projects.
Je n'ai fait ressortir que certains des nombreux enjeux auxquels notre Conseil sera confronte au cours des quatre prochaines annees. Il est clair que nous devrons concilier les progres realises aujourd'hui et les besoins d'une croissance durable a l'avenir.
I believe that the municipal programs and services offered by the City of Cornwall are needed and appreciated by our residents. We must remain vigilant and responsible in our decisions when striking the operating budget to ensure that we strike the appropriate balance between service and cost.
The key to meeting our goals will be the continued hard work and professionalism of the employees of the City. Our City is quite fortunate to have what I consider to be one of Canada's most experienced and dedicated workforces, led by an extremely capable management team. I look forward to continuing to work with administration to secure our mutual goals of providing the very best to our citizens.
Je tiens a remercier monsieur Fitzpatrick, les gestionnaires et le personnel de la ville qui sont presents ce soir pour leurs efforts inlassables. Je compte sur leur soutien continu pour que nous puissions atteindre nos buts ensembles.
While there is an ongoing need to review efficiencies and priorities, and I trust that members of Council will share my view that we must ensure that the funding we have available to us is put towards those programs and services that will return the greatest value to our residents.
Notre defi au cours des quatres prochaines annees est de faire face a un besoin reel de remplacer une infrastructure vieillissante. Ces initiatives exigerons des decisions budgetaires strategiques vis-a-vis les plus hautes priorites.
Tonight, I have spoken of the need to sustain our recent growth in an affordable and responsible manner. A successful City is one where the needs of the community are met equally with appropriate services.
That is perhaps our greatest challenge over the next four years: to achieve balance. Balance between growth and quality of life; balance between development and the environment; balance between progress and fiscal responsibility.
Certainly we will need help to achieve this balance. We must solicit and embrace the input from our citizens and community partners. We must be transparent in our actions, and remain accountable for our decisions. Only by working together as a community will we succeed.
Notre meilleur atout c'est nos citoyens. Nous nous devons de pourvoir a nos besoins et a ceux de nos voisins.
I call upon all citizens to join with this Council towards ensuring Cornwall is the type of City that everyone would be proud to call home.
Together, let's continue to move Cornwall forward - a city with a world of possibilities.
Ensemble nous vainquerons tout!