Grande Prairie Mayor Bill Given says he remains forever an optimist for what is to come, despite a tough year for some in the region.
“I think Albertans, and Grande Prairie residents and people in our region are unsettled. I think it is very challenging to separate rhetoric and big broad discussions from what is going on on the ground here.”
Given says despite the region housing Grande Prairie sitting with an unemployment rate more than half a per cent lower than the provincial average, many face the prospect of starting 2020 with a shortage of work. But he believes firmly in the fact that the city remains in a much better position than many to start the new year.
“Having said that, there have been people within our community that has been impacted by a downturn in their job. Many of these are global and international factors at play here in our local community, but we have to recognize that Grande Prairie is in such a better place when compared in contrast with a lot of our neighbours.”
Given says nothing from the last 12 months jumps out as a hyper negative in his mind, but he is hopeful for at least one aspect of the community at large can continue to grow, and that is the welcoming and understanding nature Grande Prairie residents are known for.
“I would say that nothing leaves a bad taste in my mouth from 2019, [but] I would say I look forward to 2020 and people encouraging more sense of community, more understanding of one another’s positions, and I think that is something as a country and globally we could do.”