“This is an exciting time in Barrie’s history, but the challenges we face are not small ones. We’re going to have to grow differently, spend frugally, put ourselves on a new economic path as a community, and change how we deliver services as a municipality.”
On the eve of the New Year, it gives me great pleasure on behalf of city council to offer best wishes to the citizens of Barrie for a safe and prosperous new year.
Your newly-elected council is united in our enthusiasm about the opportunities we have to bring positive change to our community during our term of office. We are committed to working effectively together and to providing good governance to the City of Barrie.
As we turn the page on 2010, it is clear that the New Year brings opportunities for our great city to move forward in many ways. In 2011, as the economy recovers, Barrie will return to growth, both in terms of new jobs and new residents. We will begin the secondary planning process for our new lands, and we will be challenged to make tough decisions about changing forms of development, as growing more sustainably means growing differently.
This is an exciting time in Barrie’s history, but the challenges we face are not small ones. We’re going to have to grow differently, spend frugally, put ourselves on a new economic path as a community, and change how we deliver services as a municipality. All of this will take time, and it will require political will and commitment, but it is essential if we are to become a more prosperous and more sustainable community.
To accomplish these changes, we will need new ideas. I believe 2011 will be a year in which new ideas will be put to the people of Barrie, and the public engaged in a more meaningful way in the major decisions affecting our community.
As a council, we have made some of these changes already. We have improved opportunities for public involvement in decision-making by enabling ‘open delegations’ at all council meetings. The effectiveness and efficiencies of council operations have been enhanced through our restructuring of reference and advisory committees, and changing the way council and committee meetings themselves function.
Throughout the organization, as we make these changes, I would like to continue to foster a customer- friendly atmosphere at City Hall, with a clear focus on professionalism and courtesy in public service.
Some of my immediate goals for 2011 include managing growth, taking new steps to revitalize our city centre, and a renewed focus on economic development – supporting job creation, removing barriers to business expansion, encouraging research and development, and growing our partnership with Georgian College, and Laurentian University.
And it’s time to return to positive working relationships with our municipal neighbours – this has been a priority for my first few weeks in the mayor’s office.
In closing, I am very excited about Barrie’s prospects. We now have an opportunity to govern with purpose and vision. Our future is bright. Council appreciates your vote of confidence, and is dedicated to working hard for the benefit of you, the citizens of Barrie.
On behalf of city council, please accept my sincere best wishes to you and your families for a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!
Mayor Jeff Lehman