Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson highlighted such Ottawa 2017 events last October's illumination of the Chaudière Falls during his State of the City speech on Jan. 31. Max Nease, Centretown News

Watson’s ‘state of the city’ speech highlights success of Canada 150

By Micaal Ahmed

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson delivered his seventh “state of the city” address ahead of the Jan. 31 city council meeting.

“It was truly a great year for our city,” he said.

Starting off the fourth and final year of the present council’s mandate, Watson highlighted the success of the Canada 150 celebrations in Ottawa.

“What really stood out for me over the past year is the success of our Ottawa 2017 celebrations and the boost it has brought to our city and to our local pride,” he said.

Watson also discussed economic growth and how the city went from what he called “Ottawa the old to Ottawa the bold.”

He also listed notable events that made Ottawa stand out in 2017, including the Juno Awards and the Grey Cup.

Watson also acknowledged challenges and hardships in the city — including last year’s massive flooding — but said he is proud of how such difficulties were handled.

I am proud of how we rolled up our sleeves and overcame these challenges together – the way Ottawans usually do,” he said.

Watson noted that the city had suffered “a recent increase in gun violence” in early 2018.

“In light of this, I’m pleased that we are strengthening our commitment to public safety by hiring 25 additional police officers this year, for a total of 75 new officers this term of council,” he said.

Watson also mentioned some of his plans for 2018, such as tackling the budget pressures associated with the legalization of marijuana, implementing the hotel tax and opening the Ottawa Art Gallery in April.

Ending on an optimistic note, he said “the state of our city is very good, and its future potential is unlimited.”

“Let our dreams ignite our future for an even better Ottawa.”