Mayor Paterson Releases Top 10 of 2019

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This year, we have been working to build a strong, sustainable community so the best way to describe 2019 is ‘Building for the Future’.

~ Mayor Sue Paterson 

Mayor's Top 10 TikTok Video 

 

41% of the population of Hanover is over the age of 55. That is a huge percentage especially when Ontario’s population of older adults is 30%. The median age in Hanover is 47.5 years compared to the entire province which is 41.3 years. To some, those statistics may make you feel older, but in this day and age – age is just a number, as older adults are more active than ever.

We want our ‘experienced people’ to age successfully so our Age Friendly committee is involved in many initiatives. Along with assessments for sidewalks and pedestrian crosswalks and a Speaker Series, the Senior Star Newsletter is now distributed to all households by mail and a very successful Active Aging Expo was held right here at the

P & H Centre on October 1st. It is inevitable that we are all going to age, we just need to learn how to grow old, age well and enjoy it. Hanover is planning to help with that!

A new plow truck is not really exciting, in fact it is little on the boring side unless you are into big trucks and tandem axles or you finally realized why Environment Canada includes Hanover in the snow-belt area.

The replacement of our 2000 single axle plow truck with a new tandem axle plow truck is used primarily for winter maintenance of our road system. Good thing we look to the future because the cab and chassis had a 21 week delivery timeline and in addition it took 22 weeks to manufacture and install the dump body and plow equipment.

In partnership with Brockton and industry partners we re-instated the Styrofoam recycling program. Did you know that Styrofoam is a brand name – the product is actually called ‘expanded polystyrene’. It is like Kleenex and tissues or Band-Aids and bandages. That is some pretty powerful marketing when you use brand names all the time.

Back to Styrofoam – Along with our partners we purchased a densifier from a company in Denmark. This equipment takes the expanded polystyrene, breaks it down and then compresses it into 10 lb bricks which are sold and can be used as insulated panel systems for facades, walls, roofs and floors in building. We have a special interest in this program because we own and operate the landfill in partnership with Walkerton. Our vested interest stems from the fact that foam plastic doesn’t compress very well. In fact, it takes up a lot of space and landfill space is precious. Our estimate is that with this new technology, we will be able to conserve the equivalent of twenty 53-foot van trailers of landfill space per year. That is a lot of saved space and our initial cost was $5,000.   Excellent return for our investment!

It is pretty rare that a cornerstone institution in a community closes and builds new – in fact you might say it only happens when it nears the century mark. The stately age of the former JDSS post-secondary school was 96. The building stood for quality education and remained true to its motto, ‘Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve’. The doors of that building have closed but the memories will live on. This year the new John Diefenbaker Senior School opened. It was a noteworthy occasion and we are extremely proud to have it in Hanover. A new era begins and the old traditions, history, achievements and memories will become the foundation for new ones and JDSS will continue to be a cornerstone of our community. On behalf of the council of the Town of Hanover, our residents and our students, I celebrate the past and look forward to the future of JDSS.

Our Library started the "Coffee with ..." series of talks with local leaders and personalities. These informal talks provide a relaxed forum for people to meet and ask questions of leaders and experts. The library invites people from our community who can share municipal or local expertise and knowledge with the public.  During 2019 the library hosted Coffee with our Police Chief, Chris Knoll, the Mayor, Fire Chief, Jeff Dentinger, Lawyer Barbara Hicks from Hicks & Hicks Professional Corporation, Grey County Warden Selwyn Hicks, Al Morrow our local historian, Veterinarian Dr. Donna Curtin and Jin Wei a pharmacist. If you have an interest in history you can go and listen to Al Morrow talk about Christmas’ Past on December 12 at 10:30 a.m. in the Library. “Coffee with…” gives our leaders and experts an opportunity to talk and answer questions directly with the public.

It encourages community engagement with them in their roles and spreads the truth in place of rumours. Other libraries in Grey County are following our lead and starting similar sessions in their communities.

 

As a community we are working hard to ensure youth interest is top-of-mind. We have demonstrated our commitment to youth through our partnerships with Launch Pad and recently with Saugeen Connects.

Saugeen Connects is a partnership with five municipalities. One of their goals is to focus on youth retention and development.

This past spring the Saugeen Student Start-Up program was launched for Grades 6 -12 and 41 youth opened 34 businesses this summer. When all aspects of the program were completed each young entrepreneur received $500. A nice reward!

Also, this summer the Town hired a municipal youth intern to look into youth engagement strategies – in other words we wanted to hear what is important to youth and learn what we can do to give youth the opportunity to get more involved and to have a voice.

And Launch Pad has been involved in some exciting initiatives. The Youth Technology & Skills Training Centre is now recognized as a ‘field trip location’ for both school boards operating in Grey County.

Grade 7 and 8 students are spending one to two days at Launch Pad. Youth are able to experience welding, woodworking, computer technology, culinary, and sewing thus exposing youth outside of Hanover to the opportunities at Launch Pad.

I am sure you are aware that transportation or lack of it is always front and centre when looking at access to jobs, programmes and even events. Well, Grey County is supporting Launch Pad with $400,000 in funding, over the next four years, for transportation services free of charge to youth enrolled in their skilled based programming.

We are proud that Launch Pad is fostering employment opportunities for local businesses in Hanover and Grey & Bruce Counties.

The reconstruction of 4th Avenue was identified as a priority in our asset management plan. The 55 year old road was experiencing significant issues. With the replacement of storm and sanitary sewers, water mains, as well as road reconstruction including curb and gutter, just over one million dollars was spent with the help of OLG funds. The project looks great, the residents are pleased, and we won’t have to worry about this area for at least another 55 years.

 

A new 12-hundred-gallon pumper/tanker truck arrived in Hanover in late August. It was custom built in New Brunswick for our Fire Department.

A truck committee comprised of members of our Fire & Emergency Services met several times to discuss the design and layout of the truck to ensure that it met the needs of the department and our municipality. By having a two in one vehicle our firefighters will have access to a lot more water at once which in turn will keep them safer and help extinguish fires quicker. Engine 10 is going to change Hanover’s response protocols and will also provide great assistance in fighting fires in neighbouring communities as Hanover has fire protection agreements with both Brockton and West Grey.

I also want to share that our Fire Department has a new tool to aid in fire, rescue and search operations.

A drone was purchased to assist firefighters in identifying hot spots, provide a clearer visual of what they are dealing with and to assist in search and water rescue operations. The specialized drone with a thermal imaging camera could very well prove to be lifesaving.

The establishment of the Eyes and Ears Volunteer program garnered a lot of public interest and rallied our residents after safety concerns were raised during a public meeting. The program is a Hanover Parks and Recreation initiative in partnership with the Hanover Police Service. These volunteers serve as ‘eyes and ears’ on the Hanover trail system. They provide a regular presence on the trails and provide timely notification of trail issues and incidents.

 

This initiative launched Hanover’s first Police Bike Patrol Unit. As part of the Bike Patrol’s mandate, Hanover Police have increased their presence along the Town’s trails, parks and footpaths. Along with the Trail system, Bike Patrol officers also patrol the downtown and various areas of town. The result is positive public engagement.

This was the year for developing and refreshing plans – 5 to be exact.

Hanover finalized and approved our First Cultural Plan and we are excited to start implementing actions to support the identified goals – Step 1 is forming a Cultural Roundtable to advance the Plan.

We updated our 2015 Strategic Plan with the goal of reflecting current municipal priorities and those of our newly elected council. The plan identified 22 action items with a more modern and focused effort.

We also updated our Emergency Response Plan. The purpose of this Plan is to protect life, property and the environment. The Plan has been rewritten to incorporate the more universal Incident Management System principles.

The Town’s Accessibility Plan has also been refreshed. This Plan assists the Town in reporting on and implementing strategies to continuously remove and prevent barriers for persons with disabilities.

We also have an updated Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan. The Town has made positive impacts with several completed energy efficiency projects which have significantly reduced our energy consumption in most areas, helped stabilize our energy costs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Wherever possible, we work to reduce the Town’s energy consumption and its related environmental impact.

Plans are a lot of work – they involve engaging residents through focus groups and surveys and require significant staff and council time, but when the Plans are completed they are important living documents that guide our budgets, policies, initiatives and actions.

The values and principles of all of our Plans drive decision-making, shape our culture and build our future.

 

 

 That concludes the Mayor’s Top 10 for 2019. 2020 promises to be another positive year with some exciting plans already underway. On behalf of Council, I want to say we look forward to continuing the journey with you – building Hanover for the future.