Happy holidays to you and your loved ones.
What a year this has been – so many challenges, and yet, despite it all, lots to appreciate and celebrate.
The overriding sentiment I take away from 2020 is the strong sense of compassion that emerged in our city when circumstances tested our resolve to be a caring and inclusive community.
So many good people stepped up to volunteer, stepped up to take on hard jobs and to take care of each other.
It was this time last year, with winter approaching, that we were challenged to find a solution for the crisis of too many people living on our streets in dangerous conditions.
Through the support of our partners in the community, we worked together to create safer space for temporary overnight outdoor shelter.
A year later, we have better temporary indoor shelters for the winter, thanks again to the determination and commitment of caring people and organizations in our city.
Through Journey Home, we’re working toward a day when we have a system in place that ensures we have a functional end to homelessness.
And then if people do find themselves without a home, that experience is brief.
As co-chair of the B.C. Urban Mayors’ Caucus with Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, we are having regular discussions with provincial government representatives to push for more holistic approaches to the social concerns that hinder us from being safe, inclusive cities.
And of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced our community in so many ways this year.
But it has been uplifting to see people pull together, find innovative ways to stay in contact with each other and to support each other, whether that’s a local business, a neighbour in need of groceries or a shout-out to our health-care workers.
For this message, I just wanted to say thank you to all the people who contributed to the betterment of our community this year.
There are so many frontline workers and people behind the scenes who have made Kelowna a better place during difficult circumstances.
It really is inspiring to see generosity, compassion and kindness come out in people when the going gets tough.
May we all enjoy some peace over the holidays this year.
Have a safe and healthy new year everyone – see you in 2021.