Message from the Mayor: Happy New Year 2022!

On behalf of my colleagues on City Council and myself, I would like to wish all residents of Westmount a healthy and happy New Year.

As 2021 comes to an end, I believe that “healthy is the definitive word.

A year ago, with the arrival of the vaccines against COVID-19, we had thought that we were close to putting the pandemic behind us. Unfortunately, this is clearly not the case. These holidays have been marked by limits on social gatherings, the closing of gyms, bars and restaurants, and of course, a curfew. While discouraging, these public health measures are necessary due to the spread of the Omicron variant, which is very present in our community and particularly in our seniors’ residences.

These various initiatives are also designed to take the pressure off our healthcare network, which is facing staffing shortages and increasing demand for care. This continues to be a challenging time for our healthcare workers, and on behalf of all Westmounters, I wish to thank them for all they do. We are grateful for your professionalism, your caring and your commitment.

My hope, like yours, is that these latest measures will be effective and short-lived.

In the meantime, I know from our experience over the last two years that Westmounters are resilient and caring. So, as we have done since the start of the pandemic, please continue to look out for one another by, for example, calling an elderly neighbour to say hello and buying groceries and other items for those who can’t get out.

The public health measures combined with the spread of the virus are impacting our services and programmes. The Library, Victoria Hall and the Westmount Recreation Centre are all closed. If the situation persists, we will once again move as much programming online as we can. In the interim, and if the weather permits, please take advantage of our parks’ various outdoor activities.

During the pandemic, one of our strategies has been to have our employees work in groups that did not overlap to limit any possible spread of the virus.

Unfortunately, with the significant increase in staff members who have tested positive, this approach is no longer as effective. The end result is that we anticipate that the rise in staff who are sick and unable to work may soon impact the delivery of our services. We will keep you posted as the situation evolves.

This may feel like the hardest stage of this pandemic to you. It certainly does to me. But as a community, we will get through it together. Let’s continue to look out for our neighbours, wear masks, social distance and wash our hands frequently. Most importantly, please ensure you and your family are fully vaccinated. The good news is that more and more people will be eligible for their booster shots as of next week. And children will soon be able to have their second shots.

In closing, please once again accept my best wishes for 2022.

Christina M. Smith
Mayor of Westmount