Skip to content

Town celebrates 2023 with New Year’s Levee

Oakville News K.A.
Oakville News K.A.

Local politicians and several hundred Oakville residents officially welcomed 2023 at the annual New Year’s Levee on Sunday afternoon.

Hosted by the mayor and town council, the yearly social event offered snacks, entertainment, and the chance to meet – and maybe bend the ear – of elected officials.

Dressed in full regalia, Oakville town crier Ian Burkholder happily posed for countless photos before leading Mayor Rob Burton and town councillors in a procession and proclamation of 2023.

Town councillor Allan Elgar with town crier Ian Burkholder | Oakville News K.A.
Town councillor Allan Elgar with town crier Ian Burkholder | Oakville News K.A.

In a brief speech, Burton reiterated themes he explored in his November inaugural address.

He noted that the provincial government has, for all practical purposes, taken over the job of planning where and how Oakville will grow.

Meanwhile, the federal government is in charge of deciding how many new people will come to Canada and need to be accommodated.

He said that leaves town council with the job of planning things like playing fields, parks, trails, fire stations and other things people need.

“It’s fun to build stuff for people because they like it,” he said.

 He pointedly directed people to call Oakville provincial politicians Stephen Crawford and Effie Triantafilopoulos – neither of whom attended the levee – if they are concerned about growth.

“And now you know where to go when you have concerns about playgrounds – and that’s to us.”

Oakville MP and Minister of National Defence Anita Anand also offered New Year’s greetings to the crowd.

Noting that the world became a darker place in 2022, Anand said she is so grateful to live in Oakville.

Musical entertainment was provided by members of the Oakville Choir for Children and Youth, Simone Beier, Sofia Castor, Sarah Cory, Natalia Ferreira, Maya Goodridge, Kaitlyn Green, Juno Jiang, Alice Li, Angelina Li, Parker Kissel, Clara Moniz, Sofia Moniz, Cecilia Overton, Yasmine Spiro, Rachel Xue, conducted by Dr. Charlene Pauls and Maria Conkey.

Oakville News C.S.
Oakville News C.S.

The event attracted many of the town’s most politically active members. Representatives from several residents’ associations were on hand, along with several former political candidates.

Among those was Jack Kukolic, the 19-year-old Sheridan student who ran for mayor in October’s election with a focus on improving voter turnout, particularly among young people.

Kukolic said he knows he managed to bring out at least 150 people – of all ages – who hadn’t previously voted in a municipal election.

Oakville News K.A.
Oakville News K.A.

But he admits he was disheartened by Oakville’s 28 per cent voter turnout. “It’s just a crazy number. It was disappointing for sure.”

For Carolyn McMinn, president of the Trafalgar Chartwell Residents’ Association (TCRA), the levee offered a welcome opportunity to connect with town hall.

“It’s all about keeping in touch with our councillors and keeping open the lines of communication,” she said, adding that the association is headed into 2023 with an eye on the development of Midtown.

Resident and well-known cycling advocate Marcus Herten said he came out to the levee to hear a bit about the town’s 2023 agenda.

He said he wants to see faster implementation of active transportation options and a more collaborative approach to accelerating the creation of much-needed midrise housing in Ward 3.

He also expressed concern about the state of local democracy.

“The weak mandate – less than 50 per cent of a 28 per cent voter turnout – for the mayor, and numerous council seat acclamations in the last election, plus the over-reach by our province, do not bode well for our democratic processes,” said Herten, calling for an “extra vigilant” local media and more engaged community.