I am waking up in Punxsutawney...

As New Year's Day approaches, I find myself wondering whether I'm stuck in Groundhog Day instead.

I don't mean the actual day, but rather that movie from 1993 where Bill Murray finds himself reliving the same day over and over again until he gets it right.

Except in my case it's a Groundhog Year, and I have to rewrite the same year-ahead column over and over again until politicians, bureaucrats and even contractors get it right.

A year ago, I predicted in my column that “otters and coppers” would dominate the local civic news landscape in 2015.

This would be the year, I wrote, when the Aquatarium would finally have to prove it was more than a figment of the imagination and actually open its doors to the public.

It would also be the year in which the charged and divisive debate over Brockville's Ontario Provincial Police costing would be resolved.

Well, guess what... The Aquatarium opening and the OPP costing debate will be the two dominant issues of the year to come. Officials behind Brockville's multimillion-dollar tourism attraction will face intense skepticism as they edge their way, one hopes, to that long-awaited opening date. Meanwhile, with the moratorium on OPP costings lifted, we will finally get to see the numbers.

Wait.. is that “I Got You Babe” playing in the background? Cuz if I have to do this again a year from now, I may have to bolt and get the heck out of Pennsylvania...

In my defence, otters and coppers, while not exactly dominating 2015, did have a role to play in the making of the year's news.

As yet more delays beset the Aquatarium, forcing still more postponements of its opening date, Mary, the female half of sibling otter pair Ricky and Mary, died at the New York State Zoo in Watertown before ever getting to see her new home.

Meanwhile, the endless succession of missed opening dates came to an end, as the official line from city hall became: “Look, let's stop talking about a date; we're doing our best to get it open as soon as possible.”

To be fair, the year now ending did include a pretty impressive tour of the facility still under construction. It really will open at some point, folks, and it promises to be a worthy tribute to our river existence.

Meanwhile, the provincial government's moratorium on OPP costings did not get lifted until late in the year, with the actual work set to resume in January.

The OPP did, however, make headlines a bit before that, albeit for the wrong reasons.

Nevertheless, here we are: The stories that should have dominated 2015 were held up by bureaucratic delays, construction delays and other delays... or I may just be trapped in a time warp.

Here's wishing for a happy, healthy and prosperous new year for all.

And here's wishing that, in that new year, the otter sees its shadow on the other side of an Aquatarium tank.