Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison. Photo by Taylor Ablett/105.5 Moose FM/Vista Radio
Affordable housing, Fairvern’s revitalization and budget adoption are all on Scott Aitchison’s 2017 highlight reel. Huntsville’s Mayor says the town had a really good year, noting the deal was just finalized to donate municipally owned land to build affordable housing; a first for Huntsville.
Aitchison says another 2017 highlight came out of a District of Muskoka council meeting.
He says the redevelopment wouldn’t be possible without that funding, and it’s a major step forward for Fairvern. Along the same lines, Aitchison says the district was able to change its capital budget so a water line could be completed along Earls Road. That will improve water pressure for residents in the area, but also means Fairvern can get built. Aitchison says that wasn’t going to be done for another 10 to 15 years, but now work will begin next year.
The 2018 budget was just adopted in Huntsville, something Aitchison says he is proud of. He says this during the first three years of this council’s term, they were able to reduce the number of town staff on the Sunshine List, which lists public employees that make $100,000 a year or more. Aitchison says spending has increased on roads, and this year’s tax increase will be just under one per cent, which is just under the inflation rate.
It wasn’t a year of all high points though, as there were some low lights for Aitchison as well. A personal low point for him was having heart surgery. But, he says he’s turning that negative into a positive.
Aitchison says Pipe Man was another low point, in the way that people expressed their opinions. He says everyone should be able to express their thoughts, but some people were nasty and unkind, which was disappointing and unfortunate. Aitchison says it perplexes him why people can be so unkind in expressing an opinion about something that was a kind gesture from a community-minded businessman. But, he says he learned a lot through that whole process and still plans to engage the community in the New Year on the topic of public art.
Looking forward into 2018, he says getting shovels in the ground on a new affordable housing subdivision as well as a new Fairvern will be top of mind. Aitchison says it will also be important to continue growing the community and getting more road work done.
It’s an election year, and although there is nothing official yet, Aitchison says he does intend to run for mayor again. He calls it the worst kept secret in town, and will release something more official in the next few months.