The year is coming to an end, and Swift Current has had an exciting 2022.

Mayor Al Bridal reflected on it all, from the lifting of COVID-19 protocols to multiple new projects around the city, to cherished annual community events.

"As everyone knows, the pathway has been a huge success," he said. "For our citizens, for their well-being; they're exercising and being out and about. And it's been a fantastic thing for the City, with the new walkway behind Regier Honda. So that's been a very, very positive thing.

"We've done quite a bit of pavement repairs and sidewalks. People might think that's boring, but if you go drive – I'll mention a city like Regina or even Moose Jaw – you go driving their streets and drive on ours, and I'm pretty glad I live in Swift Current."

Bridal added that they've recently started a project at a water storage facility in the northwest end of town, which is expected to take two years and cost around 3.2 million dollars. The project works to provide better water pressure for Highland and the surrounding commercial area. 

"We've had lots of positive things in our community," he said. "Whether it's Shakespeare in the Park or things happening at the Museum or at the Art Gallery, it's been very positive. 

"The really good thing this last year is we're finally out of protocol, and that's been a huge thing for all of us – myself and all citizens included getting back to normal. I mean, the negative thing with COVID, is we've seen some real cost increases. We've all noticed the cost of fuel. We've all noticed the cost of heating our homes. The cost of groceries. And that's definitely putting an impact on our on our finances here at the City."

He added that while they notice inflation, the cost of living is out of the City's control. 

"We really can't do anything about the cost of gasoline or diesel or natural gas," Bridal explained. "You know we can try to blame some senior levels of government if we want, but I mean in reality we just have to pay the bill. If we want to heat our homes, we have to pay it. If we want to heat our facilities, we have to."

Another expense the City noticed was the RCMP leasing cost increase. After forming a union, policing costs have jumped roughly half a million dollars, which Bridal said is big for a budget the size of the City's. 

"I think it's money well-spent, because none of us would want to be without good policing," he said. "And the RCMP provide great policing for us, so it's just one of those things. And we're not the only community. It's right across Canada. It's just one more of those financial issues."

Looking ahead to the year 2023, Bridal is excited for multiple things. 

"The inclusive playground on the south side – that's one of the things I'm most excited about," he said. "We got a grant from the federal government, three quarters of a million dollars; the provincial government leased us the land for a long-term lease for a dollar, which is wonderful; we've had some businesses in town step up. We're going to be spending well over $1,000,000 over there.

"This park will be for children in our community so they can play with their friends. And if their friends are able-bodied or in a wheelchair or a walker, they can play all over the structure with their friends. So, for me, when I look at all the things we're doing, [that's what] I'm really, really excited about."

A new roof will be going up over the swimming pool – coming out of last year's budget at $800,000, it solves a continuous issue of leaks. 

"I look to the future and I'm looking for looking forward to a very good year."