Like it was for many in the region, City of Grande Prairie Mayor Jackie Clayton says 2021 was a year of ups and downs.
Clayton, who started the calendar year as a city councillor and ended it as the first woman to be elected mayor in the history of the municipality, says the scope of the achievement didn’t quite hit home right away. She adds there were some tremendous positives along the way as well.
“It was a very interesting year, and also an opportunity for me to be interim mayor and then get elected Mayor, so I definitely have learned a lot in 2021,” she says. “There were many things that really came to full fruition in the city, [including] our economic economy and investment attraction strategies, as well as the largest capital construction plan we’ve seen.”
However, Clayton says some of those lessons were ones she was hoping wouldn’t be nearly as prevalent in 2021 as they were just 12 months ago. She says in addition to the tremendous toll the pandemic took on residents not only in the city but across the world, there were two very personal losses for many in the community.
“A lot of great things happened, but I think when 2021 started, we didn’t expect to be in a familiar place like we are today,” she says. “The passing of Councillor Clyde Blackburn and former Councillor Helen Rice… they both really just meant a lot to the community, those who worked with them, obviously their families. They brought a different perspective and I was so proud to be able to learn from them.”