Carol Leclerc retired this fall after nine years on city council. At her last council meeting Nov. 28, she took the opportunity to give a goodbye address to highlight some of the changes she’s witnessed in those nine years.
Here’s a portion of that address.
Nine years ago there was no Walmart, no Staples, no Boston Pizza, no 911, no lift into city hall, no spirit bears around town, no gaming centre, no animal crematorium, no Kidsport, no bike skills park, no bike trail around Terrace Mountain, no community foundation, no community heritage registry, no outdoor seniors’ fitness park, no bocce ball courts, no Measuring Up Terrace, to name but a few.
Many businesses got new face lifts like Safeway, Shoppers Drug Mart, Rona, MacCarthy’s, Bear Country Inn. Places like Ken’s Marine expanded. Honda got a new home. The credit unions blended and brought Terrace its first LEED building. UNBC grew. The NWCC built a beautiful long house. We’ve watched places like McDonald’s grow up, the Pizza Hut and the Dairy Queen. Timmy’s got a drive-through, and then another one.
We’ve celebrated our 75th birthday. We had a great party with Hockeyville. We love our Riverboat Days activities so much they grew from a long weekend to 10 days.
We celebrate aboriginal days, our Christmas parade and festival, and come together for the farmers market, for the firemen’s annual pancake breakfast, the Northwest Music Festival, and trade shows. We hosted close to 2,000 athletes and coaches for the 2010 BC Winter Games. We’ve hosted a number of provincial soccer, curling and hockey events.
We’ve supported a myriad of groups like the seniors, Heritage Park Museum, library board, airport society, Kermodei Tourism, volunteer bureau, arts council, Greater Terrace Food Association, the youth advisory committee.
We’ve seen the reconstruction of miles of roads, water, sewer and sidewalks. In the downtown area these things include the enhancements of bike stands, benches, lighting. We’ve bought all kinds of vehicles, pickups, sweepers, lifts, a customized fire truck. There have been new pumps and lifts, and grinders and augers and wells.
Nine years ago, George Little House was a neglected old house on Hall Street and now provides one of the most beautiful Via Rail stops. We’ve seen Ferry Island grow with better campsites that included electricity and water hookups. There are now showers and washrooms and the Rotary club built a great playground.
The Sportsplex — that was a challenge. There were a number of people who wanted the Sportsplex and those that didn’t think the city should be spending money on a project like that. We didn’t get a Cadillac, but we certainly have an active and vibrant facility. It’s so cool when you go – there is a menu board that directs you to the many activities each day. Putting in an elevator removed the access barrier and allows people to attend functions in the arena banquet room and upper floor of the arena.
The Spirit Square — what a downtown gem: home of the farmers market and outdoor concerts and festivals; a wonderful gathering place to be used year-round.
We’ve seen the wonderful work of the beautification society. They’ve helped transform brownfields into parks, dirt paths into sidewalks, they brought countless students to council to receive awards for cleanest schoolyard, held garbathons year after year to give the city a cleaned up look every spring. They worked their magic on the Grand Trunk Pathway, the Howe Creek Farm Park, and the latest, Brolly Square, just to name a few.
Housing expanded. We’ve had years with none or one new housing start to 27 in one year. Terraceview Lodge did an $11 million expansion, the Keystones were updated, the Maple Estates brought a new set of housing for independent seniors, Market Estates has 24 affordable homes for people on limited income, to name but a few.
We’ve seen transportation grow between Terrace and Kitimat and the Northern Health bus that can take people to Prince George or Vancouver. We’ve had changes at Mills Memorial Hospital that include a renal dialysis unit so people don’t have to move to Prince George, a year-old CT scanner, we’ve got new oncology, ICU and emergency departments. We have some of the best specialists that a city the size of Terrace is lucky to have.
The city has made great partnerships including those with the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum. The job creation partnerships put a number of underemployed people to work and the city benefitted with better parks and trails. We’ve had numerous folks talk to us and share their plans to use our local fibre basket for bio energy. We’ve seen Chinese interest through a number of delegations. NWCC has a partnership with Qingdoa Vocational and Technical college.
We’ve seen the Ksan Society bring into our community a transition home for women and shelter for men. The Salvation Army got a new emergency response vehicle to provide food services in times of need.
We’ve been through growing pains with tourism, to have a gaming centre or not, fly problems on the bench, wood stove smoke problems in the horseshoe, not enough medical staff, not enough vets, the homeless, people being intoxicated in our downtown, putting liens on sawmill equipment to preserve city taxes, snow removal and the list goes on.
We survived the great flood of 2007. Our staff worked around the clock to protect the city. Rip rap went up almost overnight to guard streets, homes and our sewer lagoons. The Legate Creek slide closed down the highways. We had slide and water issues on Johnstone Street, Yeo Street and Greig Avenue. We had Samaritan’s Purse come to assist.
Our forestry world has changed. We’ve faced the closures of nine northwest sawmills and two pulp mills, including the dismantling of the Terrace Lumber Company sawmill. But as one door closes, another opens. The city has a community forest with a plan as profit grows to have the monies distributed to community organizations. Some of our second growth forests are being harvested, but we still face challenges of having it manufactured locally.
Nine years ago, there was no container port or cruise ship terminal in Prince Rupert. We lobbied hard for the electrification of Hwy 37 North. We’ve seen the road to Kincolith open. The Kitimat smelter is a go. We look forward to Kitimat LNG, AltaGas and Swift Creek power projects, many potential mining projects. In the last nine years, a medical program was started at UNBC and now medical students come to learn or take hospital residencies. NWCC opened a Mining School in Smithers. The Nisga’a opened a $14 million museum. We’ve seen the growth at Kitselas with the Kitselas Canyon Interpretive Program. The NDI Trust Fund has been a large help for the north.
There will be many more challenges. Council will face exciting challenges like the future of the co-op property, Forceman Ridge Landfill, a new overpass, working with the school district to come up with future uses for closed schools, the replacement of Mills Memorial Hospital, meeting the needs of the community for a community centre, recycling, food security, a removable floor for the sportsplex, purchasing 900 hectares of land around the airport, finding the money to move forward on the intersection for the Skeena Industrial Lands.
Heritage Park Museum needs space for archives and artifacts in a climate-controlled facility. The city needs another Handi-Dart. Don’t forget about the Nass Cranberry Connector.
We lost a fellow councillor, Rich McDaniel. We lost one of our city freemen, Vesta Douglas. A scholarship was created in the name of our freeman.
None of the work that council has done could be done without the outstanding support and dedication of its employees.
The city is a well-oiled machine. With the city’s council and staff focusing on what’s best for the city, every issue gets worked through.