As 2023 ends, so does the first year in my second term as Mayor. I am so honoured to be serving the residents of Whitchurch-Stouffville and I know that sentiment is shared by the council as well. I would like to highlight a few of my ongoing priorities to you, the residents and businesses of Whitchurch-Stouffville.
COMMUNICATION- ME TO YOU
One of my top priorities this past year has been increased communication with residents and businesses. In January, I was pleased to start the Mayor’s Monthly Community Newsletter, which has been very well received. Residents often tell me that they find it difficult to stay on top of community news since the cancellation of the paper edition of the Sun-Tribune. I call it a Community Newsletter because I don’t just highlight items related to our Municipal Offices. I share information from York Regional Police, community groups, charities, etc. If you would like to submit an item to my newsletter, drop me a line at [email protected] or register here. And I encourage everyone to sign-up for the newsletter at www.lovatt.ca Another communication priority for me has been connecting with new businesses. I am often invited to grand opening events and ribbon cuttings, but if my team or I notice a new business that we have not heard from yet, we will proactively reach out to say, “Welcome to Stouffville,” and to offer an opportunity to be included in my newsletter under the New Business section. I have attended 15 ribbon cuttings & groundbreakings this year, and I never tire of them. The new business is always so grateful for the warm welcome and for the opportunity to snap some fun photos with my giant ribbon-cutting scissors.
COMMUNICATION- YOU TO ME
I want to hear from you! Being accessible is also a top priority for me. I enjoy meeting with residents and business owners in my office, but I’m also cognizant of the fact that it may not be easy or even feasible for someone to travel to meet with me. That’s why I hit the road. I was thrilled to host Town Halls in the Town Hall, Parkview, SDSS, Bloom, Stouffville Creek, 55+ Club, etc. At these events, attendees were encouraged to ask me anything they’d like, and to share feedback with me on what’s working well in our community and what we could be doing better. People did not hold back! I left each event with a list of follow-up items and suggestions to review with staff. If you would like me to pay a visit to your club, group, or organization, please email me at mayor@ townofws.ca I am always up for visiting schools too! I had some great elementary classroom visits this past year, and I have committed to forming a Youth Council in 2024. Stay tuned for more details on that.
SERVICE LEVELS- ALWAYS GROWING
As Mayor, to see the efforts of our staff working tirelessly to improve service levels for the betterment of our community is truly heartening. Here are a few that stand out to me: • Increased programming and waiving the registration fee at the 55+ Club has resulted in membership exploding from 420 in 2022 to 1,071 in 2023. • Expanding public swimming availability resulted in swim participants growing from 25,212 to 2022 to 34,448 in 2023. • Mail distribution of On the Road magazine has increased to 19,850 households. OTR continues to fulfill its goal of communicating with all residents, promoting local businesses, supporting agriculture, developing tourism and, most importantly, building community.
The Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library’s Service Levels have been particularly amazing to watch.
• Increasing Library programming resulted in program attendance growing from 18,219 in 2022 to 33,721 in 2023.
• The Library increased the number of physical materials in circulation from 265,621 in 2022 to 296,621 in 2023.
• The Library increased the number of digital materials in circulation from 265,621 in 2022 to 296,621 in 2023
From a safety perspective, Whitchurch-Stouffville Fire and Emergency Services made our community safer by:
• Increasing the number of Public Education events from 89 in 2022 to 115 in 2023.
• Public Education is key to reducing emergency responses, which fell from 1,720 in 2022 to 1,146 in 2023.
In closing, I want to reiterate a message I shared in last year’s edition. Our community is defined by the people who live and work here, and we cannot do what we do without hearing from you, so please continue to engage with us and help us shape the future of Stouffville. I wish you all a 2024 filled with only the best that life has to offer. Thank you to all the contributors and staff who put together this special Year in Review OTR.