Mitch Campsall -Image: District of 100 Mlie House
COVID-19 posed a large number of challenges for 100 Mile House in 2020, but when Mayor Mitch Campsall looks back at the year, he sees a lot of positives as well.
“We started in January with great hope and optimism for the future in 100 Mile House,” Campsall says, “but what we experienced was a challenge, uncertainty, fear, and finally hope and triumph. When the onset of COVID-19 all of us across the country, had to re-think our priorities both individually, business and governments. The focus of almost all of 2020 has been safety and the well being of our residents, economic survival as a society. There have been frustrations along the way, I believe we’ve met our challenges head-on”.
Campsall says the district did not waver in commitment to the people of 100 Mile House and continued to deliver the expected services. “This is a credit to our staff and council supporting our citizens in a difficult year, but our district operations are not the true heroes,” Campsall explains, “Those accolades belong to our healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store workers, truckers. and others who continue to work and make sure we had food to eat, clothes, gas in our cars, heat in our homes and other creature comforts that we take for granted”.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Campsall says there were many positives for 100 Mile House in 2020. Campsall explains “With the help and guidance of our senior governments, the district was able to focus our financial priorities and minimize expenses wherever possible, enabling us to meet the increased cost of covid 19 expenses, we also have to recognize significant revenue loss across the board in our operations. We were fortunate to see senior governments step up to assist local governments across the province and I believe across Canada, with the Safe COVID-19 Restart grants, we view this as a financial lifesaver.”
Campsall also says real estate has been a booming industry in 100 Mile House. “COVID-19 also has some unexpected positive outcomes, the real estate market has been absolutely electric this year. We understand the realtors remain busy in what is normally a slow time of year,” Campsall says, “We have seen significant investment in our community, developers want to address the chronic housing issues that we have in the district, with residential lot development, in Blackstock, Scott Road, and Heron Ridge areas, are encouraging in future housing for our community it shows that the people have confidence in future of our area. The demolition of the Junior High opens up the land for possible affordable senior housing, although the deposition of these lands is still in question we are confident in working with the school board we will be able to come to an agreement on the greatest positive and long term health of the community”.
Not everything was great in 100 Mile House in 2020, the District was shocked by the permanent closure of the Norbord OSB mill earlier this year. “Throughout the past year and a half the district has entertained a number of decisions with developers wanting to access the fibers Norbord is not using, but to date, we’ve had no concrete materialization in that fact,” Campsall explains “Then we learned Norbord operations across North America were subject to an all-stock offer from West Fraser. This is encouraging news, we do not know what West Fraser is planning to do with the property. But it gives us some hope and something this community really needs fowarding into 2021”.
As we head into 2021, Campsall wants to remind the people of 100 Mile House that COVID-19 will continue to be a challenge in the new year. “The district will land on its feet in these challenging times,” Campsall says, “We have faith and confidence in our people our businesses, and our government. We are not naive enough to think we will come out of this unscathed, but we firmly believe we have the people and partnerships that will get us through these challenging times. We will serve, we will grow, and we will prosper.
Campsall finished by saying “I wish everyone a happy new year, to their families, their loved ones, and the sooner we get through this the sooner we can have all the fun times, that we’ve had before, and spend time with our loved ones”.