Looking back at 2008 - 18/12/2008by Deputy Mayor Dot McKinnon
As Christmas and the New Year approach, I look back at our year.
Some very special people have passed away, some such as Nadine Timmins, very sadly. Cr Don McGregor, Lindsay Good and my old friend Derek Hooper, amongst others, are also very sad losses.
The economy has been the key item in the world news (apart from Barack Obama) and the global crisis has already made its mark in Wanganui. I suspect there will be more fall-out next year with unemployment rising and business profits falling.
Yet, it is not just sadness. We have seen some amazing sporting events – the recent Billy Webb rowing regatta challenge between Drysdale and Tufte on a beautiful Wanganui day and the Wanganui rugby team winning the coveted Meads Cup competition.
We have celebrated the literary achievement of Jenny Pattrick, author of 'Landings', 'A' grade restaurateurs, the signing of the roading Alliance contract, the airport upgrade award, a new Chief Executive and citizenship ceremonies.
We are working on greater enhancement of the riverfront by extending the walkway from the Waimarie to Dublin Street Bridge, and the gateway programme to enhance our entrance to the city. As Chair of the Riverfront Development Committee, I am keen to improve the area by UCOL, and I have put on the agenda for next year the relocation of our i-SITE and the laying of the tram tracks.
I have celebrated the achievements of students graduating from UCOL and celebrated our successful sponsorship from ACC and Suzuki for the 2009 Wanganui Masters Games. I have hosted a Wanganui welcome to visiting dignitaries, Sister City representatives, delegations from other countries and school exchange students. Speeches, opening of conferences, attending special occasions such as '125 Years of Castlecliff', Girls' College graduation, representing Wanganui in Japan, the ABN Amro Business Awards, AGMs, Gallery exhibitions, visiting Members of Parliament – have all added to the year.
Wanganui District Council has taken over the Wanganui School of Glass to ensure that this iconic training school remains in Wanganui. We have budgeted considerable funds to reducing anti-social behavior in Wanganui through improved security of the city, the fencing of the Parsons Street lookout, developing the Bad Neighbour By-law and removing graffiti. In addition, our Wanganui Banning Gang Insignia Bill has gone through select committee in Parliament and we await the new government's next move.
But best of all, I have enjoyed a wonderful year with my extended family. All but one of our children now lives in New Zealand. Our first has become engaged and maybe some others will follow in 2009. No pressure, kids!
To each and every one of you, I wish you and your families a very festive season and a safe and happy new year.