A Christmas message from Mayor Doug Struthers

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The Covid 19 pandemic is persistent – and so as a community we must continue to be persistent. This pandemic is a problem – however, a first world problem during a pandemic. For the past 20 some months we have not had any community spread nor outbreaks. We have been persistent, our businesses have been persistent, organized events have been persistent – in following the guidelines of distancing, wearing masks and getting our vaccines, especially booster vaccines.

And yet here we are facing another more persistent variant of Covid. We know what to do, we have a solid foundation of experience from which to fend off community spread and outbreaks.

Even in these unprecedented times, we conjure questions such as what will recovery be like in 2022? It is a tough one as all the traditional means of projecting employment and growth have changed, due to factors such as people working from home, the move toward support and shop local, various government relief programs for small business, changing business models and pivoting due to Covid. All levels of government are trying to answer this question and provide support for “economic recovery”.

The Village has been communicating with businesses through e-blasts to share information about various government resources and support programs related to Covid (and posted on our website and FB), have reached out to businesses that requested information in response to business survey conducted across the municipality in partnership with the UCLG Economic Development office, promoted programs to help businesses improve their online presence such as the Digital Main Street Program and Digital Service Squad members, refers local businesses to local business support organizations and continues to respond to individual business enquiries and to work with businesses across all industry sectors to reach their growth goals for the municipality.

And we have had so much community development and collaboration across our entire community: business welcome package, street beautification, in events and fundraisers happening around the community such as the Holiday Food Drive, Fair Board chilly dinner, MAG fundraising for young and emerging artists. In the development we see across the entire municipality including housing developments, business and farm expansions which are significant investments in our community. And of course we have all seen the great press around the Makers Market and Christmas in Merrickville recently, to name a few.

All good news stories of what it takes to maintain and build our economy – and to keep our collective community safe and prosperous.

I’ll take a moment to draw your attention to the extreme commitment and personal sacrifice of our Operations staff and Firefighters. This in light of the recent windstorm, but seemingly without limit on a daily basis. This does not happen without exemplary leadership from Chief Cole and ongoing support from other staff of our overall municipal team. These are extraordinary times during the pandemic and yet he, his teams and all staff persistently step up to maintain service levels, preserve the quality of life and keep our community safe.

I was recently asked to tell my wishes for 2022 for Merrickville-Wolford. Here goes….

Continued successful economic recovery from the pandemic for all our businesses
Continued diligence in our community keeping us all safe from COVID-19
We have set the table well
Continue to wear masks, maintain distance, ramp up your precautions – and really think about social gatherings!
We are in a good place and we want to stay there!
Let’s keep our eyes on the prize.

Wishing everyone a merry – and safe – Christmas and New Year.

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