From the Mayor’s Desk: Goodbye 2020 and thank you

Mayor Cindy Fortin

As the year 2020 winds down, many of us will be happy to see it go. Who would have thought back in January that we would have quite a year like this? Our hearts and thoughts go out to the many families who have lost a love one, or have been ill themselves. This has been an unimaginably tragic year for many families who have been directly impacted by this disease. While there continues to be COVID-19 deniers out there, those people who had the virus land on their doorstep, or that of a loved one, can truly know loss it brought with it.

While many of us may be happy to say good-bye to 2020, I also think it’s okay to say thank you to this year, as well. 2020 is synonymous with clear vision. While I can only speak for myself, this past year has allowed for a lot of time for reflection. It certainly shone a light on the many things one may take for granted, including spending time with family and friends, and how much we value that. Not to mention all the activities that we enjoy.

With that reflection also comes gratefulness for all the good and generous people out there, especially the front line workers. This not only includes the many health care workers and first responders, but also all the hospital workers that keep the buildings clean and operating, as well as farmers, grocers, teachers, food bank volunteers, and so many others. This is definitely a time of appreciation for many people and the generosity of others.

I also would like to thank Peachlanders, themselves, — residents, business owners and staff, organizations and clubs. I know it’s been an extremely difficult time, but you should be proud of how you’ve managed throughout this trying year.

Many local businesses have been suffering, and we don’t want to lose even one of them. I encourage all residents to please support our local businesses by shopping local whenever possible. If you’re thinking of eating take-out, we have some fantastic choices here in Peachland.  Clothing, Christmas gifts, groceries, and more, are also available in town. I noticed the beautiful Gasthaus Christmas Market is open and popped inside for a peek. The sparkling of their Christmas decorations is something to see. They are ensuring social distancing, if you want to stop by to purchase a special decoration or two for your tree.

And don’t forget the food bank; they always welcome donations, especially at this time of year.  There are many families pinching pennies right now, who can use the food bank. Please don’t feel bad if you need some help. You are not alone. As I’ve shared in the past, there was a time when I did. I was a single mom and nursing student at the time, and will forever be grateful for the assistance I received. It was right around Christmas, too, and I was fortunate to not only have received some food, including a turkey, but also a few gifts for my young son. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. We are all one family, and family helps one another. Whenever you can, when you are back on your feet, you can pay it forward.

Sadly, COVID-19 is not over with the end of 2020, and we must continue to soldier on in 2021 until such time as a dependable vaccine is available. For now, COVID numbers continue to climb in our province and across Canada, so please continue to fight through the COVID fatigue you may be feeling and wear a mask, physically distance, and wash your hands multiple times a day. Even if you’re not concerned about yourself, please help protect others. We don’t often talk about patriotism in Canada, but I can’t think of anything more patriotic than pulling together to protect and care for your fellow Canadians.

There have also been many positives in 2020, including the generosity of others. And I’d be remiss to not mention that several newborn babies that made their entrance during this tumultuous year. They are a shining lights for 2020! They are a reminder that life goes on, and that even in difficult times good things are happening.

Despite COVID limitations, the District of Peachland Council and Staff have been keeping busy during this time. The new water treatment plant is nearing completion, and the acquisition of Turner Park is definitely a highlight. I’ll do a recap of 2020 in the new year.

On a final note, I am looking forward to the Peachland Recovery Task Force Virtual Gala this Friday, December 4, from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. There may still be some tickets available. Go to Trellis.org.

The online gala will be a fundraiser for the Peachland Boys and Girls Club, Peachland Wellness Centre, the Bat Education and Ecological Protection Society and the Peachland Sportsmen’s Association. Morning radio personality Toby Tannas and Kelowna City Councillor Loyal Wooldridge will emcee, and there will be entertainment for the whole family including a story told by Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with music from Marty Edwards and the Revival, Sister Act, Niki Martinus and Elvis tribute artist Adam Fitzpatrick. It’ll be fantastic!

So, as 2020 wraps up, I’d like to thank Peachland residents for all they do and wish everyone the best for 2021.

Stay safe, stay healthy, wear a mask.

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