Commission 11, it is my pleasure to present the Annual Report for 2021. In her comments for last year’s report, Mayor Judy Wilson-Shee described 2020 as a year without precedent and one for which we couldn’t have been prepared. Although 2021 looked promising in terms of putting the pandemic behind us including restrictions being withdrawn and a sense of normality returned – along came December. The Omicron variant came upon us with a vengeance.
Before I describe the “wins” of 2021 for RSC11, I cannot do that before recognizing Don Fitzgerald, his management team and the entire staff. Under his direction, the staff of all the divisions stepped up to the plate to ensure services provided continued to be delivered seemingly unaffected by the difficulties they faced due to COVID and its restrictions – good job!
In fact, 2021 was a year of great activity for New Brunswick. The municipal elections slated for May of 2020 were pushed on to 2021 only to be postponed yet again for an additional month due to a COVID outbreak in the Edmundston area. The result affected the shape of our board with some municipal members being replaced with newly elected mayors and some of our Local Service District representatives who had completed their term being replaced with new members appointed by the minister. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who served on the board for their time and dedication and I would also like to welcome all the new directors to the table – I’m sure you will enjoy your time. Aside from the elections, the government introduced its Green Paper on local governance reform. That was followed up with information and factfinding sessions held around the province as staff extracted what things mattered most to New Brunswick and its form of local government and determine how it could be understood and developed to develop a new form of local government that people wanted. The White Paper was introduced in late fall and legislation was passed during the fall session of the Legislature. The White Paper affected the makeup of nearly all the local government entities reducing to just 90 province-wide from over 300. Changes contained within the Legislation will take affect on Jan. 1, 2023.
Aside from all the other activities that has taken place at RSC11 this past year, I am pleased to say that the Environmental Impact Assessment for Solid Waste Division was approved. The approval allows SWD to raise the height of its landfill from 58-metres to 80-metres which is a tremendous boost. Not only does it extend the life of the landfill, it in effect, reduces our footprint. In closing, I would like to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude for the support and efforts of my colleagues on the board and the committee chairs for their excellent work. It has been my privilege to be your Chair in 2021. John B Bigger