Mayor Pat Jackson

Kipling Mayor Pat Jackson says that she is quite pleased with the goals that were met and the growth that she saw in the community in 2022.
“We had the opportunity to celebrate the Grand Opening of the Water Treatment Plant and the new Kipling Public Library this year. Even though both of these projects were completed prior to 2022 – it wasn’t possible to hold a Grand Opening event during the pandemic. But we felt it was important for the community to be able to celebrate these successes.
“This year, the Town of Kipling received over $440,000 in grants for various projects such as the arena renovation and the construction of the Downtown Park (which came about through a collaboration between the Kipling Public Library, the Age Friendly Committee and the Town.”
Mayor Jackson notes that work on the arena was not able to proceed as quickly as the Town would have preferred. But she points out that the project should be completed in time for the 2023-24 season.
“We applied for the Investing in Canada’s Infrastructure Project Grant in January. But the contract was signed in August, and we could not move ahead with the project until the official announcement was made and the money received. By that time, our extremely short construction season was almost over. So, we weren’t able to go ahead with any of that work in 2022.
“But some work to replace the siding on the outside of the arena is scheduled to begin in February and March of 2023 (while the rink is still open). Then once the Arena is closed for the season, work will go ahead on repairing the retaining wall and constructing a new, fully accessible entrance for the rink. Our goal is to see that work completed by the time the arena reopens in fall of 2023.
“This is an important project. We want to ensure that we do what’s necessary to keep that building operating until plans are made and money set aside for a new building to replace it.”
The recent recognition that the Town of Kipling, along with the surrounding Rural Municipalities, received as an ‘Age Friendly Community’ is something Mayor Jackson sees as another high point in the year.
“We are the only ‘Age Friendly Community’ in the province that includes not only a town, but also the surrounding Rural Municipalities as well. And I think that continuing to grow as a community that is more accessible (for seniors and for people of all ages, including those who have various mobility challenges) will be a focus in our future planning.
“Since we received that recognition, I’ve had people point to various things in the community and comment that these particular things ‘aren’t very age-friendly’. My response is there are things that were put in place long before ‘Age Friendly’ was ever thought of. We can’t hope to ‘fix’ everything immediately.
“But if we keep the need to make Kipling accessible for everybody at the forefront of everything we do going forward – those improvements that need to take place will happen.”
As well, Mayor Jackson points out that 2022 was a year for council to reach out to both residents and businesses in the community – to gain feedback on what steps should be taken to make Kipling a stronger, healthier community going forward.
“We did both a ‘Quality of Life’ survey and a Business Survey this year.
“Generally, the ‘Quality of Life’ survey gave us some insights into what people would like to see in the way of recreational facilities and opportunities. The Business Survey gives us a sense of what our businesses are facing – what their future plans are – and what sort of support the Town can provide.
“This feedback from the community will be a tremendous help to Council as we make our planning decisions.”
Looking ahead to 2023, Mayor Jackson says that Council will look closely at ways in which they might address the need for increased housing in Kipling.
“Right now, there aren’t that many houses for sale in Kipling. There are some residential lots available (although not many). And there are even fewer places available for rent.
“Finding ways to address this will mean that we will be having Planning & Development meetings as soon as possible in the new year. That way, we can have some ideas in place about what we think we’ll need, before budget time.”
She adds that addressing this issue will also involve long term planning that extends far beyond the immediate future.
“The Town currently has parcels of land that have the sewer and water at the edge of the curb. And there are other parcels where streets and infrastructure would need to be built. We will be looking to have conversations with people about what might be done in those areas.
“We also have a concept plan for the area south of the arena. Right now, it is in its very early stages. But as we work to address this issue, that Concept Plan will become part of the discussion.
“Plans like this might come to fruition 10 to 15 years from now. I will not be on council to see that. But in order to see our plans become reality in the future, we have to start working toward that goal now.”
Mayor Jackson points out that council will also continue to do the (often invisible) work that is vital to maintaining a healthy community.
“Council will continue to do ‘Good Governance’ work – such as reviewing bylaws and policies annually to make sure that nothing has fallen into disuse or become redundant.
“Right now, residents in our community can take part in and benefit from a wide variety of programs and activities. We want to continue to improve and enhance the programs that are available.
“We got some ‘chores’ taken care of this year. For example, together with the Lions Club we’re upgrading the Diving Board at the pool. We’ve also gotten an ammonia detection system installed at the arena, which is essential for safety.
“And of course, we will continue to do what becomes necessary to respond to whatever circumstances arise. This past summer, we were repairing the ball diamonds after the storm passed through this area. Hopefully we won’t have to deal with something like that again in 2023. But we’ll be ready if it does happen.”
Overall, as Kipling moves forward into 2023, Mayor Jackson says that council will continue to focus on what has long been its top priority.
“This coming year, we will be looking at where people are living and how they are living in our community. And Council will look at what planning needs to be done to support our existing businesses and encourage growth.
“Ultimately, our goal going into 2023 is to ensure that Kipling continues to be a healthy, vigorous community – and a great place to live!”

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