As we head into the holiday season, I want to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
With 2019 winding down, I ask that you indulge me as I take a moment to look back at the successes and difficulties we have experienced throughout the past year – my first year as your Innes Ward Councillor.
This past year also saw us moving forward with much-needed steps towards improving transportation safety in our community. Whether through traffic-calming measures, new crossing guards at our schools, new pedestrian crossings, or new cycling infrastructure, we have made transportation safety gains that will continue into 2020 and beyond.
This year, many public spaces in our community were built, or saw rejuvenation, with August Park opening this past summer, Champagne Park and Ruisseau Park being revitalized, and numerous multi-use pathways and benches added across the ward.
We have also faced challenges. This past fall, Light Rail Transit (LRT) launched with great fanfare. In the days and weeks that followed however, we saw several mechanical and service issues affect the new system. I know I am not alone when I say this failure to meet expectations has been more than disappointing to say the least. While the system continues to improve, I remain confident that we will continue to see service reliability improvements into the new year.
As the new year begins, our community will also start to see some exciting changes. In the spring, the Blackburn Arena will receive its first major renovation since it was built. We will be adding new community gathering spaces, improving the accessibility of the building, and soon we will be adding a splash pad in the park nearby. The overall arena renovation is a project that has been long overdue and will support not only our sports teams, but our entire community.
Our community will also see a major resurfacing project on Innes Road in 2020. Innes is a major east-end arterial roadway, and as anyone who regularly travels it knows, this project is a much-needed improvement that when complete will help with general east-end traffic circulation.
The new year will see the beginning of another project that I am particularly passionate about; the development of the East Economic Corridor to support the LRT Stage 2 expansion. As LRT expands eastward, this project will lay the groundwork for the revitalization of St. Joseph Boulevard, as well as for numerous improvements along the corridor surrounding the new rail line and its stations.
The East Economic Corridor project will provide the opportunity to make improvements to the interconnectivity of our transportation infrastructure, and ensure that it is easy and seamless to connect to the new LRT stations. To help compliment the Corridor project, the new Chapel Hill Park & Ride, which opened ahead of schedule this past fall, will be seeing new expanded bus service in 2020.
Our greenspaces will also see enhancements in the coming year, with extensive tree plantings under the new Urban Forest Management Plan, and investments to protect and revitalize the east-end watersheds. Additionally, we will see work begin on new area parks at Trails Edge and Spring Valley, as well as the renewal of Carrière Park.
As 2019 comes to an end, it is time for reflection on the past year, while looking to the future. I have been so honoured to represent you at City Hall, and looking to the next year with all the upcoming plans and projects, I know that the work has only just begun.
Have a wonderful and safe holidays, and I look forward to seeing everyone in 2020.