Sometimes when I look around this wonderful place, I am astonished by how much it means to me. When the sun is shining, and so it is as I write this, there is a real sparkle in the air. And I marvel that a community like ours has survived in this modern era.
We live 25 minutes from the heart of a big city, yet we play host to unrivalled agricultural lands and to a landscape that is among the most vital ecosystems in North America. Our residential cores are compact and small enough that "community" remains a meaningful word.
We recognize neighbours as we shop; we smile at strangers we pass on the streets; we know our shopkeepers by name; we actually see the work of our community organizations; we play on our own beaches and walk along our own river. How lucky we are.
We are a grand community and we need to protect this place. Community and quality of life are very tenuous things, but they are the soul of Delta. We are not the hustle of downtown. We are not the centre of entertainment delights.
We have chosen a different lifestyle, one that offers quiet and comfort and neighbourhood, where our own efforts to contribute shine through so many things.
Listen to the names of some of our neighbours who make our home what it is. The Agricultural Society, the Hospital Auxiliary, the Legion, our Rotary and Kiwanis and Lions and Oddfellows and TOOBs, our Arts Council, Firefighters, Pipe Band, Business Associations and Chamber of Commerce.
We visit Earthwise, we listen to the Music Makers, the Youth Orchestra and the Jazz Band. We built Delta Gymnastics and skateboard parks. We build playgrounds and waterfalls and outdoor seniors exercise centres.
We built our Hospital and our Hospice. We light Christmas trees and Santa gives us breakfast. We have May Days and Sun Fest. Deltassist and Reach and the Community Living Society make lives better. We see snow geese and widgeon and herons and eagles and owls and sandhill cranes. We watch our fishers bring in their catch.
And we are thankful.
Bernadette, Yvonne, Brad, Shawn and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and most happy New Year. And for those of you who do not worship at this time of year, may you enjoy the peace of the season and be in awe of this place we call home.