November 2, 2016, Liverpool, NS: The 6th Council of the Region of Queens Municipality was sworn in on the evening of November 1, 2016 in Council Chamber, at the Region of Queens Municipality. Following is Mayor David Dagley's first speech as Mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality.
Before I begin my remarks, I would like to thank some of the people who have helped make tonight’s ceremony special, as a celebration of our culture and heritage. Thank you to Dr. Rev. Hopper for the Invocation. Thank you to our First Nation partners at Sipuke’l Gallery for the Honour Song, and thank you to representatives of the Kings Orange Rangers. Thank you to Jennifer Keating-Hubley, Director of Finance and Acting Clerk for administering the Oath of Office. A special welcome is extended to Staff Sergeant Smith, Anne Fownes, representing Member of Parliament Bernadette Jordan, and Courtney Wentzell, Constituency Assistant representing Member of Legislative Assembly Sterling Belliveau.
Good evening everyone. As I look around the room, it is humbling to see such community support for our Municipal government. Thank you for attending this special event. I believe I speak for all of Council when I say thank you to residents for the confidence you have shown in electing us. We are proud to serve as the sixth council for the Region of Queens Municipality. After Amalgamation in 1996, the Town of Liverpool and the Municipality of Queens became the Region of Queens Municipality. As your Mayor and Council, we will strive to serve all of Queens County to the best of our ability. We are excited about working with residents, staff of the Region of Queens, our business communities, our Federal and Provincial governments, and each other, to help move Queens County forward.
All Councillors are here this evening except Councillor Elect Gilbert Johnson. He is working hard in the Grand Bahamas restoring electrical service to residents, as a result of recent hurricane damage. Upon his return, a short Swearing In ceremony will be held at the next available Council meeting.
I would like to personally thank the previous Council, who with Christopher Clarke as Mayor, continued to steer our Region through a challenging period, due to the local Mill and Fish Plant closures. Early in their term, the outlook in Queens was bleak. With the support of our very capable staff of the Region of Queens Municipality, Mayor and Council were able to bring our community through those challenges. We will strive to build upon past successes, and are thankful that Queens presently enjoys a strong and resilient reputation across our Province.
As your Mayor, I am pleased to be joined by seven strong community leaders, forming the 2016 – 2020 Council. As your Council, we will work cooperatively towards economic growth and development, to strengthen and grow our population and business communities. We are proud of the long established businesses in Queens, and are happy to see the new businesses that have developed over the last four years. We know that there is opportunity, potential, and willingness for more employers and businesses to come to Queens and flourish.
I am committed to working with this Council to grow our population, our economy, and increase construction activity for both new homes and businesses. We will entice and welcome seniors, retirees, new entrepreneurs, immigrants, and young families to move to Queens. New construction will provide jobs, and add to our assessment tax base, helping to stabilize our tax rates. Council recognizes the importance of ongoing initiatives to improve rural internet, affordable housing options, transit services, and recreational opportunities for all. We will discuss solutions for an aquatic facility, senior supportive living, long term care upgrades, and accommodating special needs families.
This Council will also focus on creating safe, healthy and vibrant communities, with opportunities for recreation and volunteers of all ages, from youth to seniors. We have a local quality of life that few other locations can match, yet Queens can still become so much more. Our residents are a key component of our ongoing success. We have strong volunteers, who make great things happen in Queens. We have innovative thinkers – and we will reach out to hear your ideas and input. Our natural assets along the ocean and inland will support ecotourism opportunities. Built infrastructure, such as modern schools, Queens Place Emera Centre, Queens General Hospital, and the North Queens Fire Hall and Business Hub, make us an attractive destination area for families and seniors to relocate. We also want others to know that Queens County is a wonderful location to live, work, raise a family, and retire.
I will work diligently with Council and staff to leverage the rich culture and heritage assets we enjoy in our municipality. We have an exemplary relationship with our friends and partners from Acadia First Nation and the Native Council of Nova Scotia. Queens enjoys rich arts and culture, as well as great history, and a Privateering Heritage. We will pursue more local events, and support Queens Place Emera Centre as an economic generator. These assets will help us flourish, and we will promote them to visitors and tourists.
Council transparency and fiscal responsibility will become priority objectives. As a new council, we will embark upon a process of policy and project briefing. Starting on Thursday, and in coming weeks, we will talk about how we wish to govern ourselves, look at our communications practices, and embrace our accountability and obligation to be an open government for the public. Together, we will work hard to ensure that we maintain services, work within our tax base, and ensure that residents are aware of the work that the Region of Queens Municipality is undertaking.
To my colleagues on this Council. Public Service is a noble calling. Collectively, we are committed to the public good. We will work hard with each other, with staff, and with our communities for the benefit of all of Queens. We have a diverse council, and we will have robust discussions. We will respect one another. We will listen. We will be courageous in making difficult decisions, but we will strive to make wise decisions.
I must come back to my previous point about being humbled by your support of our local municipal government. For each of you who are here in this room tonight, there are thousands more who are at home or at work, living their lives. We take the responsibility that the voting public has bestowed upon us very seriously. Being your Mayor and Councillors is not something we take lightly. We represent you, and we make decisions on your behalf for the betterment of all of the Region of Queens Municipality. It is a big responsibility, and one with which we are honoured to have been entrusted.
It is our intention to work hard to serve you well, and we will make you proud during the next four years of our mandate. The Region of Queens must grow to succeed, and we are up to that challenge.