KAMLOOPS — After a whirlwind 2017, Mayor Ken Christian is looking to the year ahead.
Christian expects 2018 to be a year of growth.
"I think the development community has really stepped up," he said. "We have a number of significant projects that are ready to go through the building permit application stage."
Construction will begin on a new 44,000 square foot, $30.6 million Nursing and Population Health building at TRU this year.
Work is also expected to begin on the $417 million Patient Care Tower at RIH.
"There are a number of big projects that are going to come through Kamloops that I think will be indicative of solid employment opportunities," Christian said. "Certainly the construction trades are very busy right now, and we are starting to see some pick up in the retail areas, so I think going forward our unemployment should be falling, and that we are poised to do good things."
However, Christian says there are a few grey clouds looming over 2018.
"One of them is the opioid crisis," he said. "We have not dealt with that yet, and it's totally unacceptable the number of deaths that we're seeing in this city as a result of opioid use. We have to work with other partners in terms of dealing with that. Mental health and addictions is a very real situation that we need to help solve."
As Christian prepares to tackle the challenges of the year ahead, the knowledge that 2018 is also a civic election year is never too far from his mind.
"I think that as we get into the summer then I think sort of electioneering will certainly start at that point in time," Christian said. "For right now we've got work to do, and I want to roll up my sleeves, and I'm sure council does as well, and get on with providing good leadership and good governance to the city of Kamloops in 2018."
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