Councillor Reflects On A Challenging Year

By Wilson Lo, Barrhaven East Councillor

Every Christmas season I always get weirdly nostalgic for the year that was, and what a unique year 2023 has been for me.

From engaging with residents to working with the political and administrative side of the city, and from attending truly fascinating events to sending almost 10,000 emails, my first full calendar year as Councillor brought joy, excitement, challenges, and countless learning experiences.

I also gained twenty pounds; but I’m working on that.

Alongside the new experiences and responsibilities, I was able to continue doing two things I particularly enjoy, graphic design and writing. To be able to use those skills for things I begged my old job to let me do has been vindicating!

Speaking of my old job, what’s funny is in my first few months as Councillor, my mind still defaulted to reporting to someone, after having done so for a decade.

The demand of being present has been one of the more challenging aspects of the job. As a natural introvert, I usually find myself needing to recharge after a work engagement, especially after back-to-back meetings and/or events.

It took me about half a year to truly grasp my schedule, and since the summer, I have worked in proper days off and have been better at setting the ever-important boundary between work and life, with the understanding I’m “on-call” all the time.

Despite that, my favourite aspect of the job has been meeting residents, at a café, or just out and about (I don’t have a ward office). I am so impressed and grateful for the care people have for their community.

Our community is also home to so many skilled and talented people—authors, opera singers, grassroots charity operators, painters, as well as people with all sorts of unique and interesting jobs. Learning about the different walks of life in Barrhaven East has truly been a privilege, and I’m looking forward to continuing to do so over the next few years.

Although there are people to whom I’m especially grateful, I am thankful to be able to work with such a caring and engaged community. It’s your engagement that allows me to do my job well!

Thank you, Barrhaven East, and wishing you all a safe and enjoyable Christmas holiday season and a happy, healthy 2024. Looking forward to what next year brings!

Featured Image: Wilson Lo said his favourite aspect of being a city councillor has been meeting local residents.