Mayor Frank Campion virtually hosted his annual year-in-review address this morning in support of United Way Niagara. 60 stakeholders enjoyed breakfast from Welland’s Blue Star restaurant and listened to Mayor Campion provide a recap of 2020. In a year like no other, Welland’s resilience, vision and steadfast approach made the year a success.
“Despite COVID-19 and the roadblocks the pandemic still presents, Welland continues to grow,” said Mayor Campion. “A total of 767 new permits were issued in 2020, totaling over $200 million.” Mayor Campion continued to highlight the growth in residential development, noting that Niagara is an attractive area to live, work and invest, “it is dynamic!”
The Economic Development Team continues to support private sector development while stimulating new business and industry. The team worked hard to stay one step ahead of the competition and by doing so, Welland has created diversified employment, many of which were deemed essential services throughout the pandemic stages.
Throughout 2020, the investments and developments for the City continued to grow with three lots sold in the River Road Industrial Park, Kit Steel’s construction of their 12,787 square foot rebar fabrication facility and Holiday Inn’s construction with a completion date scheduled for June 2021. In addition to the many new builds and expansions to manufacturing in Welland, several new retail ventures and restaurants now call Welland home.
As one of the only municipalities tendering linear infrastructure replacements during the pandemic, the City of Welland was able to deliver on approximately $11 million of 2020 Capital Construction projects in record time. With the support of City Council, senior staff were able to develop Capital Works programs for 2021 that will be larger than we have seen before. Staff are currently on track to execute this program which will restore critical infrastructure spanning all wards within the City.
Development was not the City’s only focus throughout the year as the City received 100% on the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) inspection demonstrating that our City is maintaining high water quality standards and meeting all requirements. In efforts to move forward with our Corporate Climate Adaptation Initiative, two Hyundai Kona Electric Vehicles were purchased and we were able to retire two gas powered cars. Both cars were funded through revenues derived from building permit fees, resulting in no impact on the tax levy.
With help from community partners, such as Open Arms Mission and a generous anonymous donor, stomachs were kept full with three free food giveaways. These acts of kindness and compassion are needed more than ever during difficult times.
Foyer Richelieu will be one of the first campuses of care to offer four-points of housing along with continuum care. Welland was able to assist with the expansion with a contribution of $400,000.00. The four-point housing will include independent living, supportive housing, long term care and hospice which will be operated by Hospice Niagara. Partnerships like Foyer Richelieu and Hospice Niagara have many benefits as both groups bring expertise to improve care for all.
Mayor Campion closed the virtual fundraiser stating, “We will continue to develop, nourish and plan a smart city that promotes livability, workability, and sustainability. Council and staff will focus on restructuring and diversifying our economy, reinventing ourselves, and building a sustainable foundation for future generations.”
For more information on United Way Niagara’s programs and support services, visit unitedwayniagara.org.
For more information on City of Welland programs, services, and projects, visit welland.ca.