Thank you!

As  2018 comes to a reflective end and 2019 New Year begins, I wanted to send out some final thoughts with regards to this past year, regarding the election and my time as Councillor.

Win or lose, it takes courage, drive and knowing who you are to put your name on a ballot and to get out there and try. What the election loss really means to me is that I lost the opportunity to continue to serve our community at this level. I am sorry to have disappointed those who anticipated me to be in this role; it was simply not meant to be – I have always trusted life’s direction and I hope you can too. I am truly grateful for those who contributed and encouraged me along the way – you know who you are! I am very proud to have achieved 40% of the vote, I could not have been that successful without each one of you and your help. Thank you!

As of November 30th, I officially completed my active duties as Councillor. The prior two years provided me with more depth and knowledge than I can put into words. I will miss working in this capacity, alongside the Mayor, Council, Staff and committee members. Their ability to balance vision and patience was profound and the professionalism and camaraderie were extraordinary. Being that I started mid-term, I stepped up and stepped in when Council was in a time of need, I believed in and helped to ensure their 2014 four year strategic plan stayed on track; I did what I said I would do – and more.

March 2017 – Live to air

While on Council, I had the opportunity to listen to public requests and I came to understand the common undertone, for revitalization to our current assets and the desire to balance growth with preservation. I can leave knowing we are in good shape with respect to these wishes and I am proud to have supported the continuation of foundational work with regards to:

·        Major projects like: the MURC, 2 Fire Halls, the Civic Centre, and West Park;

·        Moved long-standing issues forward regarding: Lakeshore Jurisdiction, Jackson Point Harbour redevelopment, West Gwillimbury Forest preservation;

·        Supported urban and industrial growth in South Keswick;

·        Increased staffing growth and strengthened vital community partnerships

– I look forward to seeing our Town unfold. It was a true honour and I am thankful and humbled by having the community’s trust.

Being a Councillor allowed me to enjoy a host of occasions, it would be impossible to list them all but I would like to highlight some:

·        Canada’s 150th celebration, Vimy Ridge 100th year commemoration, World War I 100th anniversary and Georgina’s 200th anniversary – I am extra proud to have been a part of these moments they are extremely important moments in our history,

·        The celebrations at the Clearwater Farm with a visit from the Lieutenant Governor for the road opening and the community barn rising were both extraordinary events. Council enacted our Town’s reconciliation statement on the day Gord Dowie passed away – it was après poi,

·        Council was granted “Judge” status for a proceeding and;

·        I was a firefighter for a day of skills training – I got a hat and the t-shirt!

Additionally, I shared the community’s growth and celebrated with 15 new business openings – and a lot of cake, attended and presented at both volunteer and business awards, walked- in several parades, and attended charitable events and dozens of functions where I was able to witness the heart of this town – the people.

Open of Cedarvale Lodge

This experience showed me new personal limits, I challenged myself, I put myself out there, tried new things, and I grew. When I think back, I ran 2 elections in 2 years and won on my 1st try. I am among the very few people and even fewer women, who can say that! I stood up, I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone, and I leaned in. I have long suggested this to others, and I walk the talk! Trust me when I say, “I gained more from this experience than I lost.”

Thank you,

Charlene Biggerstaff