Where have you gone, 2018?
It seems like just yesterday we were reflecting on the stories, the moments and the tribulations of 2017. We were looking forward to what 2018 would bring.
That was more than 360 days ago. And now we’re sitting here, looking ahead to why we should be excited about next year.
We already know of some reasons to be excited for the upcoming year. There will be lots happening in the city. There will be some great events.
One such event will be happening in July: the resurrected Rafferty Rumble. This was a big deal in the early 1990s, when people gathered to celebrate the completion of Rafferty Dam.
Under the leadership of Josh LeBlanc, who has proven himself to be an expert when it comes to planning community events, the Rafferty Rumble promises to be bigger than it ever was before. Based on the initial plans, it appears there will be something for everyone.
We’ll have other events added to the schedule throughout the year. When you think about it, at the start of 2018, the city hadn’t been awarded the Home Hardware Canada Cup curling event as of yet. That event has since come and gone, and put Estevan in a big national sports spotlight.
We’re also looking forward to some big decisions facing Estevan city council. What will the city do with the Power Dodge Ice Centre to bring it up to the standards of a second arena? Will a decision be made on a replacement for the Civic Auditorium? Will the city proceed with a renovation to the current police station, or will it construct a new building?
And will the city wrap up the resurfacing of King Street? That road from Souris Avenue North to Kensington Avenue is in much better shape than it was two years ago.
We also get to look forward to the next federal election. The Yellow Vest Movement protests in Estevan the last couple of weeks, coupled with the truck convoy that made its way through Estevan last Saturday, have served as a reminder of how frustrated local residents are with the current federal government.
It’s no secret that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not a popular politician. The question is whether there are enough people east of Winnipeg tired of Trudeau to vote him out of power.
One thing we’re not looking forward to is the potential demise of Units 4 and 5 at the Boundary Dam Power Station. While we aren’t writing 2019 on the obituary for Units 4 and 5 just yet, they will close at the end of next year without an equivalency agreement. And with each day that passes, the potential for that equivalency agreement diminishes.
If Units 4 and 5 close, not only would it have a big impact on Boundary Dam, but it would almost certainly result in layoffs at the Westmoreland Coal Company’s Estevan mines, just like jobs were lost when Units 1 and 2 at Boundary Dam closed a few years ago.
We can dig our heads in the sand, and pretend it’s not happening, or we can look for ways to regroup and attract new jobs to Estevan.
We need to take a long, hard look at the future of the community. And those discussions are something we’re looking forward to.
There are many other reasons to look forward to 2019. And you can be sure that we’ll be there every step of the way to let you know what’s going on.