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Taking a look back on 2018

Posted: January 7, 2019

Taking a look back on 2018
by Mayor Shelley Hart

Day to day, month to month, we often don't realize how much we have achieved unless we purposefully stop to reflect.  Like I did last year, I'd like to share with you, some of our community highlights in 2018.
Hired a new CAO - Sheila Mowat joined the RM on January 2nd.

Monthly history stories
- ESP history stories were submitted to the Neighours of ESP magazine and included on the RM's website each month.

North Hill sign
- The 34-year-old sign, which was made of wood, had deteriorated and local residents were asked for input for the new sign which went up in February.

Installed two emergency back up generators
- These were installed at the municipal office for RM staff and RCMP as well as at the arena (which is our emergency evacuation centre).  Having emergency power for our critical infrastructure was a must have.  We received $40,000.00 in grants towards the cost of the two generators.

Hosted 2 senior's lunches - In April and November lunches with guest speakers were held at the arena banquet hall.  Both events were filled to capacity with waiting lists for both.
Welcomed Indoor Beach Volleyball to ESP - In May, the Beach Volleyball Centre, a first and one of its kind facility in Manitoba, opened on Wenzel Street.

Delivered a fiscally responsible budget - with a very small 0.95 percent increase in 2018, Council adopted a responsible budget this year, like the ones previously. Over the past four years, the average increase was 0.54 percent per year.  At the same time, capital reserves increased by $3.5 million or 38%.
Communities in Bloom - In this year's judging, ESP received 4/5 blooms with an improved score over 2017 and a special mention for Centennial Plaza.  We could not have done this without the efforts of our volunteers and sponsors!  We also received the Clarion Hotel & Suites - Brandon Shield Award for Manitoba Good Roads Association's Beautification competition.

Improved Accessibility
- we approved our Customer Service Plan as part of the Accessibility of Manitobans Act and we have already made improvements to our accessibility throughout the RM including accessible playground equipment added in Memorial Park, viewing ramp installed at arena, 4-page newsletter with larger font introduced, improvements to surface at Farmers Market, non-slip coating on cement/bricks at entrance of RM office.
Hired a municipal engineer - In June, Andrew Blanchette became the RM's first staff engineer.  The RM conducted a review of several years of billing to consulting engineers and determined that we could conservatively save approximately $50,000 per year by hiring our own engineer.  The added benefit was having this level of expertise on a daily basis.
Centennial Plaza grand opening - in August, more than 350 people attended the grand opening of Centennial Plaza.  Built in honour of our 100th anniversary (2016), the Plaza is our community "front porch" an extension of our municipal office where the community can gather, hold events and learn about our history.  Since the opening, two formal events have been hosted in the Plaza, Halloween at the Plaza and Bells of Peace.  We received approximately $400,000.00 in funding for this project.

Received $37,102 in provincial grants
- several projects benefited from this funding including the ESP day care HVAC replacement, tree planting, and arena change room roof replacement.
Fire Department - we hired 7 new firefighters and purchased a new pumper truck, replacing a 29 year-old-truck.  The purchase of the truck was done collaboratively through the Winnipeg Metropolitan Regional with two other municipalities.  We are working together to leverage the economies of scale.

Hosted events at Plaza - Halloween fun with bouncers, face painting and treats including a 990-pound pumpkin grown by local resident Chris Wiggins.  We also hosted the "Bells of Peace" a Remembrance Day event which included the ringing of the former St. Catherine Anglican church bell 100 times to mark the end of WW1.
Municipal Election - this election saw 4 of 5 members of Council return with newly elected Councillor Carla Devlin in Ward One.  The Mayor and two Councillors were acclaimed.
Increase in local programs and events - Our recreation programmer has been busy bringing new programs into the community for kids, teens, adults and seniors.  This includes special events like Halloween at the Plaza, school in-service days, senior's lunches and craft shows at the arena.
All of this was made possible by the combined efforts of our Council, staff, provincial and federal funding partners and members of the Community.  We look forward to 2019 and the opportunities a new year brings.
November 11th Bells Of Peace ceremony
Installation of two emergency back-up generators 

Grand opening of Centennial Plaza
The new North Hill Place sign

Halloween at the Plaza featuring a 990-pound pumpkin grown by local resident Chris Wiggins
Seniors lunch hosted by the RM 

The Beach Volleyball Centre 




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