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Message from your Mayor: 2019 Annual Report

The Annual Corporate Report is scheduled for release and will be presented on July 14, 2020 during the Regular Meeting of Council at 2pm.
2019 was an incredibly challenging year for Clearwater and the North Thompson Valley. The long-anticipated slowdown in the Forestry industry became a harsh reality for us. The permanent closure of the Canfor Vavenby Mill, and the resulting transfer of forest tenure to Interfor, caused very uncertain times for an industry that has been the staple employer and source of business for Clearwater residents for over 100 years. The challenges with the forest industry are far from over, but the people of Clearwater are an incredibly resilient and adaptable bunch. With the guidance of our reinvigorated Forestry Working Group, we will move into a new future in forestry that will hopefully serve us well for the next 100 years.
Our local Tourism industry, on the other hand, had a record-breaking summer. Mild weather and a quiet forest fire season combined to create an absolute booming summer for Motels, B and B’s, restaurants, whitewater rafting companies and other visitor activities businesses. The seeds of marketing and promotion planted by our local tourism entrepreneurs and Tourism Wells Gray over the last decade came to bloom in spectacular fashion for 2019. We as a community continue to get a glimpse of the true potential of what is fast becoming a 40-million-dollar industry for our local economy.
On the technology front, some of our lobbying finally paid off with commitments by Mascon and Telus to deliver improvements in 2019 and 2020, bringing Clearwater and Area that much closer to the levels of connectivity we have long desired.
2019 was also the first full year for myself as Mayor, and for a mostly new council. Due to the Canfor closure, the learning curve was steeper than any of us could have ever anticipated; it was a true “trial by fire” for sure. We are all incredibly grateful for the positive support of our community, for our solid municipal management and staff team, and for all our partners in government and industry who stepped up to support us through a time of transition that most communities only face once in a lifetime. We are strong, we will move forward, and even though challenges in inevitable, the future will be bright for all our residents.

—Mayor Merlin Blackwell