First, I want to acknowledge that this has been a very tough and scary year. The global pandemic set a lot of us back. People have lost loved ones. Depression and suicide are on the rise. Families have fallen behind financially. Businesses have been struggling, and the Town of Cochrane certainly felt its fair share of COVID-19 stress.
Not only did the pandemic itself create a mountain of emergency management work, but pushing everything to a remote workplace forced us to change the way we do absolutely everything. Our Mayor, Council and administration worked harder than ever, but for the most part, dealing with the pandemic consumed the majority of our energy. Despite all the extra stress and effort that has been spent, I worry that progress on our actual key objectives has slowed.
Things such as planning new traffic infrastructure projects, supporting our local economy and managing growth still need to be addressed, but much of our attention had to be given to the pandemic.
COVID-19 has taken a serious toll on our government, and we are not alone. These new problems extend to almost every major organization and business in the world. Now that the RancheHouse has reopened, it is time to get back to basics.
But moving forward into a post-COVID world is not just about achieving strategic objectives and getting work done. It is also about maintaining a healthy culture, happy community and improving people’s mental health. The longer we live in this socially distanced state of permanent anxiety, the more damage we are doing to the fabric of our society.
Even though businesses are reopening, kids are back at school and people are going back to work, I still feel an overwhelming sense of tension everywhere I go. The topic of COVID-19 is still ruling many people’s lives, even though the number of new daily cases has stabilized.
I feel like the whole world just needs to stop and take a deep breath.
For that reason, the simple message I want to share with everyone in this Council column is that the world is going to be okay.
We can laugh at work. We have coffee with our business partners. We can go on dates. We can catch up with old friends. We can take our family to the movies. We can hold the door for strangers. We can go to the rec centre. We do not have to hide anymore.
Just wash your hands, follow health guidelines, and start living again.