Hello and Happy holidays, Breezes readers!  I hope and trust that you are keeping safe and healthy during these unprecedented times.

While for a lot of reasons, this has been a year that many of us would like to forget, there are some outcomes I trust we will all remember.  The pandemic has highlighted the importance of making time for each other (safely).  It has brought us closer to each other, to nature and to our neighborhoods.  And while many of us have learned to conduct so much of our day to day in a virtual way, we crave for that day where handshakes and hugs will happen again.  One thing is for sure, the world keeps turning and work is getting done and millstones continue to be reached.  One of those milestones is a very special anniversary that has arrived in your North End neighbourhood.

Congratulations to our North End Breezes on 50 years of publication and community involvement.  It has been the perfect hyper-local source of information and entertainment since the early 70’s.  During the past five decades, we have enjoyed everything from recipes to historical stories and I have personally appreciated regular opportunities to update readers (residents) on the issues related to municipal government issues.

With that, here is a brief out-line of some of things I have achieved through council motions since we last met on these Breezes pages.  Throughout the pandemic I have been focused heavily on doing what we can as a city council to appreciate and support small business, maintain momentum on the business we (the City) control and continue to promote and facilitate growth and assist our public institutions.

I appreciated my colleagues supported my motions to create opportunities for restaurants to expand their footprints on public property.  (Across the city, more than 165 establishments took advantage of the cost free and bureaucratically limited opportunities). I recently moved to extend that program as there were so few complaints and a great deal of support from the 30,000 strong in the restaurant industry and their patrons.  I successfully moved socially distanced music gathering atop the York Street Parkade, a Mosque call for prayers (outdoors when institutions were required closed), renovations the Spiritual room and office at the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre at 95 Hess Street and a designation of New Vison Church as a Heritage Building.

Of course, there is so much more happening through your ward 2 office and not all of it virtually, but I have and will continue to meet you safely at various sites throughout the ward and when permitted based on how the Province may be regulating.  Always remember to get in touch by phone or email.  A special thanks to North Ender Maureen Scally who has been phenomenal in managing our office some of the time at a safe distance.

Finally, I hope that you will continue to think hyper-local when it comes to shopping throughout and beyond this holiday season and beyond.  Parking is free at parking meters throughout the season in our Business Improvement Areas and owners and operators have been exceptional at keeping up with and adhering to the ever-changing rules and regulations related to public safety during this pandemic.

Once again, happy holidays and continue to stay safe.

Councillor Jason Farr