It's hard to believe the end of the year is almost upon us - and what a year it has been for everyone.
This Council, like all others across Queensland, was elected and sworn in earlier this year in the middle of a pandemic - a pretty unique situation to say the least.
In the months since, virtually all councils and communities have experienced a number of challenges, we definitely found ourselves in unchartered waters.
While it hasn't been easy for so many people and businesses, as a community we persevered and did the best we could, which is a credit to the resilience and resourcefulness of the community.
Social distancing, contact tracing, using hand sanitiser and not shaking hands - these are all things that were alien and unfamiliar concepts just a few months ago but that we have now adopted in our day-to-day lives.
COVID requirements also naturally became a part of Council's operations.
For several months we had to close facilities such as Splashez, the Library and a number of parks in order to meet lockdown rules, reopening them gradually once we were given the green light by the State Government.
We also had to cancel many of our usual events. However, with recent news of encouraging results from vaccine trials, the future is looking somewhat brighter.
Meanwhile, events have slowly but surely resumed, with some necessary changes to meet social- distancing requirements, such as October's Wonderland Under the Stars and this month's Christmas Carols event.
And while not an event in the strict sense, there will be an excellent fireworks display off the George Street hill for New Year's Eve to see out 2020 and welcome in 2021.
It was wonderful to host Their Excellencies the Honourable David Hurley, the Governor-General of Australia, and Mrs Linda Hurley in mid-November for a quick but very busy two-day visit.
The feedback I have received from the Governor-General's office has been extremely positive. I have been informed he thoroughly enjoyed meeting Mount Isa community representatives and the events he attended and the sights he saw during his visit.
With the new year comes a new outlook and we look forward to the opportunities and challenges that 2021 will bring.
For one thing, we have some superb projects in the pipeline that we are all excited to be able to get started in the coming months, including some big changes to the Waste Management Facility, the rollout of smart water meters, the development at Gallipoli Park, and a multi-million-dollar upgrade of the Family Fun Precinct.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the Mount Isa Year 12 class of 2020 graduates for their exceptional efforts in an incredibly difficult year.
Not only did they have to contend with COVID shutting schools and a switch to remote at-home learning for several months, they are part of the first Year 12 students in Queensland to receive ATARs for further tertiary study, rather than the long-standing OP (Overall Position) ranking system.
We are all extremely proud of your achievements and efforts this year and wish you all the best. No matter where your paths may lead, I am confident that bright futures lay ahead for all of you.
I'd like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year.
- Mount Isa Mayor Danielle Slade
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