“You can't make a new beginning in life, but you can make a new ending. Let's love more, let’s care more, let’s do more, let’s laugh more. And if we do all these things we will make a great new ending.” - Anonymous
It seems like only a short time ago I was sitting down to write my last blog of the year. I wrote it with the anticipation of the holiday season which was over as fast as it came. Now here I am again, a few weeks into 2016, ready to write my first blog of the New Year. Today I want to take the time to reflect on the year that was and look at what will be in store for our community in 2016.
In 2015, I kicked off the year as I do every year with my birthday. I have always felt so fortunate to start a new year with a birthday celebration and last year I was also able to share my birthday month with the City of Warman Fire Rescue. In 2015, Fire Rescue celebrated fifty years of community service and hosted a celebration where members of the community were able to share in the excitement of the incredible growth of our community as well as share the stories of the past.
As we moved into the New Year, our community was very busy. In February, a chilly ribbon-cutting event was held for the grand opening of Prairie Oasis Park Gazeebo. This gazeebo was made possible by a $20,000 donation from the Warman Community Association. April followed with a celebration of the incredible volunteers of the community. The volunteers were celebrated with delicious food, and fantastic entertainment and presentations. It was a great event to show our appreciation and thanks to the volunteers for their continued support to our community.
With summer upon us, the community continued to be filled with activity. June was the official sod turning event for Warman’s newest hotel. This project continues to be on pace and is set to open in the fall of 2016. July welcomed the opening of the much anticipated CO-OP Service Station which has been a fantastic addition to our community. Residents also kicked off summer with the ever growing Canada Day Celebrations, with over 1,000 in attendance it was a very busy and exciting day to celebrate our great country. Overall it was a great summer filled with exciting things for the community!
Summer was soon over and the City was deep into fall activities. The City was proud to announce their partnership with the Ready, Willing, and Able Program which allowed for the addition of a new staff member. Chris Rosenthal has been a fantastic addition to the Warman team thus far, his positive personality has been a wonderful. The City also had another successful partnership with the Great Plain’s College Heavy Equipment Operator Course. With the partnership, and the dedicated work of all involved, the much anticipated Warman Skate Park opened with hundreds of people of all ages taking advantage of the new park. There were still some dedicated residents out until the first snow fall. We look forward to the official Grand Opening event later this spring. Speaking of parks, the Warman dog park where many of Warman’s furry friends frequent received some new additions in the fall. 65 trees were added to the park. These trees were graciously donated by KH Developments. Thank you to all of our partners in 2015, your commitment to our community is appreciated.
In the fall, the City also held the annual Warman Open for Business Expo, WOBE 2015 event. This year by all accounts, the event was a great success. Over 1,000 attendees walked through the door to visit over 95 local and surrounding area businesses which was a 25% increase in attendance from previous years. As always, a large draw for the many visitors was the Taste of Warman which was delicious as always. Thank you to all who made the event a great success, I can’t wait to see what the 2016 WOBE event will bring!
With 2015 nearing an end, many of the City of Warman employees were recipients of awards that showcased their dedication and talent. The awards received were:
An important initiative by the City of Warman was introduced in 2015. The Warman Notify Now system was activated and practice alerts were sent out in order to get the system running as efficiently as possible. This very important emergency service is an incredible asset for our community. If you haven’t signed up, please contact Josh Welz at email@example.com.
- Josh Welz, Economic Development Officer, was selected by SEDA (Saskatchewan Economic Development Associations) Award for Outstanding Young Professional;
- Coralie Bueckert, Recreation and Community Events Supervisor, was recognized as the Warman Citizen of the Year for 2015;
- City of Warman employee Nathan Heide won another National Jr. Football Title with the Saskatoon Hilltops;
- Paul McGonigal, Recreation and Community Services Manager, was recognized as the Award of Merit recipient from the SPRA.
In addition to these awards we were extremely pleased when in October, one of Warman's programs, Kids in the Garden, was awarded the Scott’s Miracle Grow Youth Gardening Award, which was presented at the Communities in Bloom national competition. Congrats to Cindy, Brandi, Kody, and Breanne of the Kids in the Garden Program and all of the Warman City employees. You all are so deserving of these awards!
The last month of the year was full of celebrations. Over 250 kids and their families took part in the Santa Day event which offered sleigh rides, crafts, stories, treats, and of course a visit with Santa, Elsa and Olaf! A special tribute was also held to celebrate the retirement of Fire Chief Gord Thompson. Many residents in the community gathered to celebrate Gord and his family’s achievements and contributions to Warman and surrounding areas. One thing is for sure, our new Fire Chief, Russ Austin will have some big boots to fill! December concluded with our Warman Christmas Party. It was a great way to end the year celebrating alongside Warman Council, City staff, residents, and businesses.
As the 2016 year arrived, our community received news of a tragic accident that took the lives of a young family. From this accident, this critical highway intersection has been called into question. The City of Warman remains committed to ensuring that we have safe access to and from our community. This accident also highlighted the issue of driving while impaired. It is our greatest responsibility as citizens to take care of each other while we are on the roads. When driving I urge all residents to remove all distractions and be responsible drivers. We will keep the families affected in the tragedy in our thoughts and prayers, and as for the many first responders, we thank you once again for being there at this time of tragedy.
In early January, many residents were also notified that doctors from our community would be leaving in 2016. The loss of 4 individuals who this community has relied on for medical services is unfortunate. The City of Warman remains committed to working alongside stakeholders to find a Warman solution to this issue and more importantly help raise attention to this issue to our regional health authorities. For a community of 10,000 strong there is no reason why we do not have complete access to medical services. As we move through this transition, I encourage you to keep visiting and supporting our local clinic. The City of Warman will keep all residents updated with information as we work to ensure key medical services are available to you in our community.
Looking into 2016, there are many exciting events scheduled. In early spring, our community will be able to take part in Canada’s 150th Birthday Celebrations by helping create a local mural mosaic. The project will require the help of close to 400 citizens. The goal will be to create a local, culturally relevant mural for the City of Warman. Our mural will also be included along 149 other murals across Canada to help celebrate the birthday of our country. This project is a fantastic opportunity to showcase our community, our spirit and our special talent in Warman, I encourage everyone to get involved! Another exciting event for our community will be the official Grand Opening of our Skate Park. With lots of great activities planned this event is one you won’t want to miss. Be sure to check for dates in the upcoming months as plans are finalized. These are just a few of the many events that are in store for us in 2016, I have a feeling that this year will be full of great events in our community.
The City of Warman will also see many projects underway in 2016. The Transportation Study is in the final stages and the official plan will be released to Council and the public early in the New Year. This plan will allow the City to follow guidelines and recommendations for all traffic related issues as the City continues to grow. Another project underway this year will be the continuation of Prairie Oasis Park. Washrooms, two new softball diamonds, a warm up shack and the shaping of the hill will all take place. In addition to these projects, the two new elementary schools in the Traditions neighborhood will continue with construction with completion expected in 2017. The above projects are only a snapshot of the many projects occurring this year, as always the City of Warman will continue to update the community as the year progresses.
A new year of adventures, opportunity, and new possibilities - 2016 has arrived! We are ready for another great year of community connectedness as we continue to meet and grow as individuals, families, communities, and as a city. Let me extend my continued gratitude in serving you, the citizens of Warman, in this next year ahead.
I want to leave you with this thought as you begin the New Year.....In a blink of an eye, everything can change. So forgive often and love with all your heart. You never know when you many not have that chance again.