As I write this is would seem that COVID-19 dominated the past year in all aspects of our lives.
However, for the people of Castor there were some positive things that happened here, not the least of which is that we remained and still do, fairly free of this virus in our region.
So, I do thank the people of Castor and the County of Paintearth for being so careful and obeying the rules set out by the Province of Alberta and Dr. Hinshaw.
As to how the Town of Castor survived this year, we have received $270,000 in MSI (Municipal Sustainability Initiatives) funding for 2020 from the Province, which is very important for our financial picture, due to our low tax base.
Also, the gas tax refund for $50,000 was received from the federal government which we spend every year on our sidewalk maintenance.
Our fire hall renovation is moving ahead as the Town has funded the project for $100,00 in addition to the $150,000 that was allocated from the MSI funds for the renovations.
At this time, I would like to thank the firemen for all the extra volunteer work they have done to help with the renovations.
They also were involved in many COVID-19 birthdays or just cheerful ‘drive-bys’, Halloween candy drive bys, and Christmas Eve they were helping Santa Claus with a drive-by.
Not to mention their volunteer fire assistance.
We have also received just over $100,000 from the Municipal Stimulus Program to fund the arena project which entailed putting new tin on the north and south exterior walls and do a greatly needed repair of the beach hill road.
We have also received extra funding from the Alberta Government through MOST, which is the Municipal Operating Support Transfer program.
The capital projects completed this year were: gas and water meters replaced, water testing equipment and boiler repair, sewer lift repair, new water pump replacement and the replacement of our garbage truck, which came at a significant cost.
Council and myself, under the assistance of our CAO, learned to ZOOM.
We conducted several council meetings on Zoom.
During the course of the year, we did make and pass over 400 motions and approved close to 10 bylaws. We also activated an EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) when needed.
One of the things council and myself and administration were most pleased with was our decision to open our swimming pool.
With the hard work of administration and staff, the pool had a very successful, but short, season.
I feel it gave our local kids a real boost this summer to have something to do.
Residents should keep in mind for 2021 there will be a municipal election. Nomination papers can be picked up at the Town office in early 2021.
In closing I would like to commend and thank our CAO and administrative staff for the hard work they did this year.
Many times, they worked under trying circumstances, with government directives coming in daily due to COVID. I also would like to thank our Public Works staff for keeping our Town facilities and services going in an efficient manner under difficult times.
Wishing everyone a safe and a wonderful 2021!
Mayor Richard Elhard