Woodstock Mayor discontinues New Year’s Levee

by | Nov 21, 2023

Trina Jones plans to replace Jan. 1 event with Family Day event in February

Woodstock Mayor Trina Jones will no longer greet the New Year with the Mayor’s Levee at Connell House.

Jones told council the traditional New Year’s Day event at Connell House in downtown Woodstock has become a challenge on several fronts.

“We had trouble last year pulling it off,” she said, noting the staff scrambled to find a caterer and many spent most of New Year’s Day working.

“I didn’t want to subject staff to a full day on New Year’s Day,” Jones said.

Coun. Julie Calhoun-Williams agreed with the mayor’s decision, saying many residents can’t find time to attend a New Year’s Day event.

Former Mayors Art Slipp, Jeff Wright, and Randy Leonard used the Mayor’s Levee to deliver the State of the Town address and hand out certificates of appreciation to volunteers and residents who have dedicated time and effort to benefit the town.

Jones said she wants to continue that tradition but plans to make it part of Family Day events in February.

She believes a larger venue, such as the AYR Motor Centre and a weekend in February, would make it easier for a larger cross-section of the community to attend.

“We’re trying to capture more than the diehards,” Jones said.

Coun. Jeff Bradbury expressed disappointment with Jones’ decision to discontinue the levee.

“It’s a long-standing tradition,” he said.

Bradbury said he and many others always looked forward to the New Year’s Day event.

Jones acknowledged Bradbury’s point but said the New Year’s Levee is no longer a tradition, noting it wasn’t held in 2021 or 2022 because of COVID.

Calhoun-Williams suggested that the event’s change in time and place would capture new people.

“We’re not keeping tradition anymore just to keep tradition,” she said. “We’re moving forward.”

Jones said she will continue honouring volunteers and others for their community support, adding she wants to get recommendations from the public regarding who deserves such an honour.

She also believes February is a better time to deliver the State of the Town address.

“It’s hard to give the State of the Town on Jan. 1,” Jones said.

Noting the event is the “Mayor’s” Levee, she said the decision to discontinue the tradition is hers and didn’t require a motion from council.

Jones said she and the staff will plan an event in conjunction with Family Day on Feb. 19.

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