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MAYOR: Resilient as we face challenges

Another year of adversity is behind us and if 2021 taught us anything, it’s that resilience and adaptability will be invaluable traits for the foreseeable future
Ken Christian byelection
Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian

Another year of adversity is behind us and if 2021 taught us anything, it’s that resilience and adaptability will be invaluable traits for the foreseeable future as climate change, an ongoing pandemic, and worsening housing and opioid crises continue to take their toll. Still, challenge is the architect of innovation, and the City of Kamloops continues to respond to adversity with strength and growth. We are coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic with new, unprecedented levels of strategic cooperation and partnerships within our business community. Venture Kamloops worked with 166 local start-ups in 2021, which is nearly 50% more than ever recorded in previous years, and business licence activity continues to be strong. Strength and diversity in real estate continues as well, demonstrated in our recent approval of the largest residential development permit application in Kamloops history.

City Council has been working to pave the way for progress in Kamloops by adopting Zoning Bylaw No. 55 to regulate land use in the city in new ways along with three new revitalization tax exemption bylaws designed to provide incentive for new development and redevelopment in strategic sectors and areas of the city. Council has also been advocating for increased resources and programming to keep our streets and commercial centres safe while providing necessary care for our members of our community experiencing homelessness or battling addiction.

Through tough times I have been particularly proud to watch the people of Kamloops repeatedly step up to support their neighbors. A large residential structure fire, extreme heat, and unprecedented wildfires and flooding displaced many residents and required a significant emergency response to support Kamloops residents and those within our neighbouring communities. Over 25,500 volunteer hours were dedicated to Emergency Support Services last year. Volunteers also rallied to support the operation of mass vaccination clinics within our community allowing us to quickly and efficiently achieve an 89% vaccination rate which is helping to turn the tide in the pandemic. Your late nights, long shifts, and kind acts of helping others will not be forgotten as we document this unprecedented moment in our history. 

2021 also taught us that we can’t build a better future without acknowledging and healing the wounds of the past. Truth and Reconciliation are critical components of a strong and vibrant society. We are blessed in Kamloops to have a great relationship with Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc. I am excited to see that relationship continue to grow with many opportunities for working together towards reconciliation, collaboration, and mutual advancement in the years ahead.

As we look ahead, we know that the impacts of climate change are not behind us. Progress requires meaningful action to prepare for and prevent the worst of the impacts we are set to face. Council adopted our Community Climate Action Plan in June 2021, which sets a course for reducing our emissions by 80% by 2050 while increasing our resilience to the impacts of climate change. This year, residents will see progress and investment into key initiatives from that plan.

As we move forward into 2022, we need to continue to build back better, leaning into the lessons we have learned, the efficiencies we have found, and the relationships we have fostered. We have shown ourselves and each other just how strong and resilient we have become. Let’s take that with us into whatever challenges we face next.