By Lloyd Ferguson, Ancaster councillor
Happy Boxing Day everyone and may you all be enjoying this time to celebrate with family and friends. This past year has been a memorable one for our community and I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.
We officially began the holiday season earlier this month when Santa arrived in town to celebrate the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. While we had no snow on the ground on Dec. 5, he arrived safely aboard a Hamilton Fire Department truck. The Mounted Police Unit, while providing safety for the children in attendance, also added a touch of character to the old-fashioned ceremony.
Thanks to the volunteer efforts of organizers Rev. Aaron Gerrard and Nancy Benedict of FX Worx – a special effects company in the Ancaster Industrial Park – this year’s Christmas festivity was a huge success. We entertained large crowds and the feedback has been very positive. Families were treated to free hot chocolate and the sights of live reindeer, carolers and much more, including a pyrotechnic display.
I also want to thank the Ancaster Heritage Days committee – in particular Mary Ann Leach – and the staff from our own public works department, for the beautiful new Christmas decorations that adorn the core this holiday season. During the infrastructure enhancements in the core over the past two summers, we managed to run power to the islands along Wilson Street from Academy to Church, as well as along Rousseaux Street, thereby giving us the ability to light up the trees in those areas. Please get out over the holidays and enjoy the beautiful lights and decorations throughout our community.
As I’ve reported here in the past, we were having issues with the contractor involved in the major renovations at the Ancaster Senior Achievement Centre. Unfortunately, that situation didn’t improve and we took action to terminate the contract and engage STM Construction Ltd. of Brantford to complete the project.
Any costs associated with the project delay will be absorbed by a municipal cash reserve and will not impact the membership fees for members of the ASAC. As well, STM Construction Ltd. is committed to meeting the March 31, 2014, completion date so for those attending the centre, you will have seen a lot of activity going on as every effort is made to complete the work on schedule. I apologize for the slow start on this project, but it will be spectacular when completed.
I also want to draw your attention to an issue that has come up recently where people in the Crestview Drive neighbourhood of Ancaster have been travelling over private land at the end of the street to access the conservation area. I understand the interest in utilizing this beautiful space, but we must also respect the private landowners in the area who are being very patient as I work with city park staff and Niagara Escarpment Commission personnel on a permanent solution. I will keep you posted on progress and possible solutions.
And finally, I want to send out an early notice that on Jan. 19 from 1-4 p.m. at the Old Town Hall, my assistant Kathy and I will be holding our annual New Year’s Levee. Please mark this date in your calendars and plan to attend so we can celebrate the successes of 2013 and talk about what we want to collectively achieve in 2014. We look forward to hearing your ideas.