In 2016, according to Statistics Canada, 92.5 per cent of Canadians aged 12 and older, or roughly 27.3 million people, reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied with life. This is a very interesting statistic and I often wondered, if it could be recorded, how Richmond County would rate.

Of course, I’m a glass half-full kind of person, and based on what is happening in Richmond County, I would say we are definitely in the higher percentages for life satisfaction. Let’s explore this a little more; we live in safe communities, we have outstanding educational opportunities, excellent policing services, numerous recreational programs and stable businesses, to name a few.

Yes, we do have challenges when it comes to health care, housing, population decline, and employment. As a municipality, we stay in regular contact with provincial and federal governments, constantly remaining vigilant and advocating whenever and wherever possible for service improvements, new programs, new initiatives and assistance.

And yet, through our challenges, we are getting things done, cooperating with neighbouring municipalities, improving our communities, and taking a big picture view of future community development.

For instance, in the fiscal year ending this March (based on preliminary numbers), the municipality will have a budget surplus and we continue to pay-off debt and invest in capital expenditures.

The $2.0 million Arichat Mainstreet Revitalization Project is underway with construction starting in May/June.

Richmond County construction data shows an increase in renovations, additions and new building construction from $18 million in 2017, to $19.3 million in 2018.

The Village of St. Peter’s is seeing new developments with over $2.3 million in new construction, which includes the expansion of Foodland Grocery/new NSLC outlet, as well as a new mainstreet commercial strip-mall housing new tenants, and major renovations to the Bras d’Or Lakes Inn.

Tourism numbers at the St. Peter’s Visitor Information Centre show there were over 15,000 registered visitors during the 2018 season.

Headland Cultivation is finalizing plans for their cannabis development in Lennox Passage.

Richmond County and the Town of Port Hawkesbury recently agreed to an Inter-Municipal Agreement to take ownership of the Landrie Lake water system and form a new Landrie Lake water utility.

Richmond Municipal Council and the Village of St. Peter’s Commission have commenced regular joint meetings designed to increase communications and cooperation.

These are just some of the actions during the last year with more initiatives planned as a result of the strategic planning consultations and feedback.

Recently our residents have been reading about Richmond County’s new comprehensive five-year strategic plan, which has three over-riding directions intended to focus on growth – jobs, population and revenue. This overall direction will drive five priorities that will ensure our decision-making aligns with the strategic direction. These priorities include: grow the economy; grow tourism; invest in infrastructure; nurture healthy, active communities; and inform and engage citizens.

Just like you, I was brought up to believe that having a plan and getting into action will deliver results. As well, our council recognizes that we have a responsibility to provide an environment for good economic investment and community betterment initiatives.

It is critical our municipality have a plan, a direction for the future. There is an old adage that says; “When your headlights aren’t on, the best rear-view mirror available isn’t likely to improve your driving.” So, as we move forward with this new strategic plan, let’s collectively work towards positive actions for implementation and through the upcoming district town hall meetings, engage in productive and solution based approaches to enhancing our communities and adding more to our life satisfaction.

Jason MacLean

Warden Municipality of the

County of Richmond