With 2020 behind us and a new year to look forward to, we decided to speak with the District of Houston’s Mayor Shane Brienen. A Q&A with the mayor, gives a peak at some of the projects planned for 2021 and what the district hopes for in the new year.
Looking back on 2020, what are some accomplishments you would like to highlight for the District of Houston?
2020 has been a very difficult and busy year, we did however accomplish some very big projects. Thanks to all our staff at the District of Houston for keeping things running as normal as possible in a year that has been anything but that. Thanks as well to Public Works for continuing to deliver services we all rely on. Thanks to our team at Leisure Services who have been dealing with so many challenges while getting our facilities open while maintaining safe operations at our pool, arena and fitness center.
Some of the 2020 highlights for the District are finished the underground works for Ninth Street, completed the connection of the new refrigeration plant to the curling club, signed an agreement with RDBN to share a full time bylaw enforcement officer, 2020 Road paving program – Kanata Ave, 6th St & Benson, Omineca Way, North Copeland Ave, Copeland & 3rd St, Goold Rd & Parish Rd, installation and commissioning of new water and wastewater station. Service will be initiated over the winter and a new rescue truck has been purchased for the fire department.
Council and staff quickly adapted to the changing business environment of COVID-19 and worked to ensure the health and safety of our residents, minimizing exposure to rising costs and lost revenues, and working to keep our recreation facilities open where possible.
The District applied for $8,989,150 in grant funding for various District projects and community groups. So far, we have been approved for $234,276.
What are some things that were planned for 2020 but didn’t go as planned for the District?
Project wise. The Highway 16 undergrounding hydro project from Butler Avenue to Buck creek. Covid and some budget issues have put this project on hold and it did cause some delays on a few other projects as well.
What does 2021 look like in terms of plans for the District? What should people of Houston look forward to in 2021?
A few of the things going on for 2021 are planning for 10th Street revitalization pending grant funding, continued work on asset management including a preliminary capital reinvestment plan, nuisance Bylaw review with council, finalize fire hall and community hall replacement concept designs and add finishing touches on our 9th street project.
What message would you give to the community?
Continue to look out for others. It’s been a challenging year and isolation is really hard on everyone. If you get a chance say thank you to so many of the selfless volunteers in our community. To many to list but a few that come to mind are the volunteer fire department, Search and Rescue, recreation clubs involved with the x-country ski, hiking, mountain bike trails, the Buck Creek Hatchery, minor sports and so many other great groups and volunteers. Thank you!
On behalf of Council and the District of Houston I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.