KENSINGTON - Kensington Mayor Gordon Coffin has just completed his first year as the town's new mayor. Coffin sat down with the Journal Pioneer on Tuesday to take a look back at his inaugural year and a look ahead at his plans for the town of Kensington.
Q: You just finished your first year as mayor - was the role what you envisioned?
Coffin: "Yes. My first year was wonderful; it's been a great experience and a good learning curve. There were no surprises other than the fact that I like to get things done and it takes a lot longer to get things done than one would think."
Q: As the mayor of Kensington, what have you accomplished over the past 12 months?
Coffin: "On a $1.4-million budget we inherited a deficit of over $100,000 so that was the first thing we had to budget for. And now, hopefully, we are going to come in close to breaking even this year.
We put in place a tax incentive policy for developing residential homes. For the first four years you get an incentive policy and that will come into effect the first of the new year."
Q: What have you done to plan for the future of Kensington?
"At about the one year mark, about a month ago, we wanted to draw up a long-term vision of the town, so where we started with that was a public meeting. We made a 'what we'd like to see done' list with the public's input as opposed to just council."
Q: What was the biggest obstacle you and your council faced in 2010?
Coffin: "Our biggest challenge is a whole bunch of projects with a lack of funding."
Q: What are your plans for the future of Kensington?
Coffin: "Kensington Community Gardens need to be upgraded. I think the best option is to build around the rink to revitalize the Community Gardens. We did come up with a plan and submitted it to both federal and provincial governments. To date we have no funding. We can certainly build quite a complex if we can come up with the funding. It's more than just an expanded rink, it would be the centre of the Kensington area.
We're actually hoping to budget for a recreation and wellness co-ordinator and program developer, which would be an employee of the town who would oversee everything and bring a lot of recreational programs to the town. We want to develop more parks, recreation and green space. We're currently working on some plans to develop soccer fields. The town has some land that we could try to make it work."