Better relations with First Nations, a vibrant downtown, and improved access to the river and waterfront.
Those are among the top priorities for the current city council which approved its 2015-2019 strategic plan on Monday night.
The plan has been a work in progress since the new council was elected last November and represents the values and responsibilities of city council.
“Over the first three months, council has worked together to establish roles and responsibilities, committee and commission structure, the 2015 Financial Plan and now the Strategic Plan,” said Mayor Andy Adams. “It is the Strategic Plan that guides the allocation of resources and efforts on issues that are critical to achieving a collective vision for the future.”
Council, working with city staff and Paragon Strategic Services consulting group, participated in two strategic planning sessions last month and identified its advantages and its challenges.
Council identified its strengths as: having affordable housing, having land available for development, low debt load and low taxes, and easy access to outdoor recreation, among other things.
Its weaknesses are: lack of connectivity in key areas, sustainable job growth, delays on projects, the city’s relationship with the Strathcona Regional District and First Nations, downtown development, succession planning, and limited revenue options and reserves.
The four priority areas of council’s strategic plan are: relationships, economic growth, livability and management and governance.
Council signed off on the strategic plan at Monday night’s council meeting with one minor change.
Coun. Ron Kerr didn’t like the wording on one of the priorities, which ended with the line ‘advisory groups etc.’
“Not to be nit-picky but I’m just wondering if it needs the ‘etcetera’?” Kerr questioned.
Coun. Charlie Cornfield, however, had a better idea.
“I don’t want to lose the context of the ‘etcetera’, can we amend that to ‘others’?” Cornfield asked.
“Because I believe the intent was to include others as well as our advisory groups.”
Council in the end approved the change from ‘etc.’ to ‘others.’
Adams commended staff and council on a job well done.
“I do want to compliment both staff and council and the facilitator for strategic planning for an excellent process and I compliment staff and council as to how well we worked collaboratively together to come up with this strategic plan,” Adams said.
Strategic plan priorities:
Focus on Relationships
- We recognize our role as a regional hub and offer services to neighbouring communities in a manner that is financially responsible and sustainable for our residents.
- We value our First Nations neighbours and seek alignment and opportunities to work together.
- We understand that a community is strengthened through diversity and is defined by how it treats its most vulnerable.
Focus on Economic Growth
- We will align our internal processes in support of economic health within the community.
- We want a vibrant and prosperous downtown core.
- We support our tourism industry in attracting visitors and business to the city.
Focus on Livability
- We will address community safety issues for transportation and infrastructure.
- We recognize access to recreational and cultural amenities as key to a healthy, vibrant and livable community.
- We will ensure a marine and river waterfront that is open and accessible.
Focus on Management and Governance
- We actively support a regional solution for management and reduction of solid waste.
- We plan proactively for the long term costs of maintaining our critical infrastructure.
- We value community input and will be disciplined in defining the scope of advisory groups and others.