It is no secret that I am very passionate about Cambridge, Ontario. My husband and I started this blog because we wanted to showcase all the great things happening in this city and let’s face it – There are a A LOT of great things living in this city. From festivals, to parks, to new businesses coming in, there’s lots to see and do.
This week an opportunity came up for me to attend a talk by Mayor Doug Craig on the State of the City. I jumped at the chance. Of course I wanted to get in on what is happening in my awesome city!
Hosted in the Gaslight District, I was impressed with the layout of the space. The air seemed to be buzzing during networking before the event which allowed me to talk to some familiar faces and to be introduced to some new ones. I loved meeting new people who not only knew about this blog but actually admitted that it was one of their favourite things to read about Cambridge.
Talk about an ego boost!
I was pleasantly surprised to be seated with the media, something I haven’t fully been considered since I worked for the Cambridge Reporter 20 years ago. Thanks to connections I ended up sitting at the very first press table at the front of the room. With other members of the press all armed with tape recorders and notepads, saying I felt a tiny bit out of place would be an understatement.
City Manager Gary Dyke took to the stage first and played the most amazing Cambridge video that I have seen yet! We shared it immediately after it was released and will be sharing it again. Honestly – it is fantastic. Massive pats on the back being sent out to the team that put that together. You deserve it!
When Doug Craig took the stage, everyone was rapt with attention, me included. I won’t go into all the things he discussed, but here are some points I found really interesting:
- The Mayor likened what is happening in Cambridge as similar to the Renaissance period, and referenced an article by the Toronto Sun that you can still view here.
- The Economic Development department for the City will be run out of the Innovation Centre allowing what he dubbed “a City Hall within the Community.”
- The film industry in Cambridge is growing by leaps and bounds and is helping put Cambridge on the map worldwide
- Project is planned involving lighting of bridges in Galt and Hespeler to change colour (which I think will be pretty cool)
- A boardwalk to be built in Hespeler off Ellacott Lookout
- The Region of Waterloo is proposing to put the LRT Terminal near the pedestrian bridge if/when it comes to Cambridge.
- Although it is in the early planning stages, there is discussion of building a pedestrian bridge from behind Preston High School over to the Rare Charitable Reserve.
- 2019 will see a beautification project coming to downtown Preston
- Milling Road in Hespeler is being considered as being turned into pedestrian only traffic, thus making it similar to Sparks Street in Ottawa
- The Mayor didn’t avoid the biggest challenge in our city either. Although he didn’t have answers for the opioid crisis, he did address all that they have been doing to understand what is going on and how other cities are keeping drugs out of their cores.
- Children and specifically teens were a big focus for Doug Craig – he talked about programs and activities to keep teens busy and active and also said that he is considering allowing 16 and 17-year-olds the opportunity to vote as “They are smarter than we give them credit for.”
- The new Idea Exchange “digital library” is going to be opening in the Old Post Office on June 28, 2018. (FINALLY WE HAVE A DATE!!!)
- Taxes – he would like to not raise our taxes but instead get 1% more than they currently get from property taxes (only 9% of our property taxes goes to the municipality to pay for infrastructure)
I can honestly admit that this was the best State of the City Address I’ve ever been too. Sure it’s the only one I have attended, but I still think it’s great to see what our city has been working on and what is coming up.