Courtenay is open for business.
That is the opening statement of Mayor Greg Phelps’s message in the city’s 2010 Annual Report, a 44-page document that outlines the city’s vision and mission, provides highlights from each department and contains the city’s financial statements.
“Open for business! That message is getting out, and the City of Courtenay is well on its way to rebounding from the recent recession,” wrote Phelps. “That is not to say there are not challenges ahead. Costs of just about everything continue to climb, and your council is mindful of the fact that many families are still struggling to cope. We have done our best to hold tax increases to a reasonable rate, plus we have lowered the tax multiplier for business in order that they remain viable. A strong local business community is essential to our long-term growth.”
Sustainable growth is also essential to the city’s future, explained Phelps.
Council has introduced many policy initiatives to address climate change, as mandated by the provincial government, he noted.
All new development in the city must now meet rigorous new environmental standards, such as protecting parks and interconnected trails and protecting native plant species and dealing with water drainage on site.
Chief administrative officer Sandy Gray was also optimistic in his message.
“Like many other communities, Courtenay was affected by the economic downturn in recent years, but careful fiscal management ensured the city weathered the worst of the storm with minimal impact on services,” he wrote. “In 2010, we saw the signs of an economic recovery, with a significant increase in residential and commercial building projects.”
Gray highlighted large projects such as the renovation of the Native Sons Hall and Cliffe Avenue widening project, as well as the community spirit that was instrumental in building the universally accessible Rotary Skypark at the Courtenay Airpark.
In 2010, the city took big steps in environmental sustainability, including hiring an environmental planner, noted Gray.
“The team in Courtenay work hard to keep our city running smoothly, recognizing the need to balance the provision of current services while providing core funding necessary to maintain our wide array of infrastructure, facilities and properties,” he wrote.
The report also outlines A Vision for the Future, the key goals for the city to pursue in the 2009-11 term. They are divided into seven sections — economic development; environment and parks; community facilities; transportation; housing; water, wastewater and solid waste; and regional co-operation.
Councillors and city manager of corporate administration John Ward commended staff members for their work on the report.
“I like the layout, use of pictures and clear language,” said Coun. Doug Hillian. “I think it reflects well on the city.”
Coun. Jon Ambler was also appreciative of the clear language.
“Often, these reports are written in a way only an expert could read it,” he said. “This is written at a certain level that our citizens could read it and appreciate it.”
Ambler also appreciated the Vision for the Future.
“The Vision for the Future is kind of like our report card,” he said. “It’s very useful to us.”
The annual report is available online at www.courtenay.ca.