City officials ring in New Year
“The best part of today is welcoming all of you and saying Happy New Year,” exclaimed Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran to the large crowd of community members and representatives who had assembled to celebrate the annual New Year’s Levee.
The widely-attended event took place Sunday afternoon at RIM Park. Participants enjoyed free refreshments, complimentary skating and face painting. There was a variety of musical acts, including Traces Steel Band, a cello quartet and a female acapella group, among others, as well as a performance by the K-W Skating Club.
For Joy Gould, the Levee was a chance to show her kids the best of Waterloo. “We are proud supporters of Waterloo,” she said. “I feel it has a really strong sense of family and community.” Like many others, Gould said they planned to take in the skating, but were also enjoying connecting with familiar faces from around the city. “I like the fact that there’s a lot of community spirit,” said Louisette Lanteigne, who was attending the event for the fourth time with her family. “It’s a fun place for people to meet and greet, and if people aren’t familiar with the city, it’s a great way to get to know our officials and get involved.”
Bruno Vogel, a Waterloo resident of fifty years, but first-time attendee of the Levee, used the event as an opportunity to familiarize himself with Mayor Halloran. He explained, “We always saw the mayor from a distance, but never face-to-face, and this was a good opportunity to shake her hand … and we had a little discussion about things.
“To me it’s about the mayor and councillors being just out talking to the citizens, shaking hands, you know, looking at what the people are doing, hearing from them,” Halloran agreed. “I just like being a part of where everyone is.”
MP Peter Braid was also present along with the mayor and the city council to mingle with community members. The highly successful event appears to be growing in popularity, with a new addition this year of shuttle buses bringing people from Conestoga Mall, ensuring accessibility for all who desired to attend.