YORKTON - Looking back on 2022 Yorkton Mayor Mitch Hippsley sees a lot of positives both locally and provincially.
Hippsley said locally some of the key developments were not necessarily city initiated but they did try to play a role where they could.
For example, the Mayor applauded the development of Bruno’s Place the new temporary shelter in the city.
“The City of Yorkton didn’t build Bruno’s Place, but we helped where we could to make it a viable operation,” he said.
Progress locally in terms of truth and reconciliation is something Hippsley said he is proud of.
“I’m extremely happy with the progress,” he said.
Hippsley said in conjunction with that effort it was a highlight of the year as was having the Yorkton Tribal Council invest in a major feature for the downtown park with the installation of the large teepee sculpture.
From a strictly city perspective the final approval and start of construction on a new clubhouse at Deer Park Golf Course was something Hippsley said needed to be undertaken. He added the facility “should be done in the spring of 2023.”
It was also a positive locally seeing design work progress on a reconstruction of York Road, offered Hippsley, who added the initial cost estimates have been higher than anticipated but work continues before final numbers will be known.
Still the condition of the road makes it essential it be fixed in some way.
“It’s got to be addressed,” said Hippsley, adding to fund such a large ticket project “the province has got to step up,” as it is a highway connector road.
Hippsley said in terms of planning he is pleased to see work continuing to determine exactly how a new regional hospital for the city will look.
While the mayor was not predicting when the first shovel might be turned in terms of actual construction, he said the province at least seems to have the project moving forward.
Hippsley said provincially there were things which moved forward from a municipal perspective that were certainly a positive and will be good for the city too.
The first item was how property taxes are assessed through SAMA.
“There were a lot of complaints about SAMA,” said Hippsley, adding as a result there has been something of a municipal lobby going on to change the system.
While admitting massive change is unlikely, at least anytime soon, Hippsley said they are at least hoping to shorten the time between assessments to two years.
The province has balked at the idea citing increased costs, but Hippsley said Alberta manages to do it annually, and he is hopeful something will be done here.
Mental health is also an issue locally and provincially, and Hippsley said it is something that he is close to.
“I was asked to chair a working group through the city mayors and we have met once a month,” he related.
With five mayors involved, the group calls in other organizations working in the field and try to build a more co-operative approach to dealing with mental health issues.
“We’re making some progress on that,” he said, adding they appear to have the ear of the province and co-operation on that front too.