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Council rejects paying for new strategic plan

Council chose not to spend about $39,000 for a consultant to update the municipality’s 2016 corporate strategic plan noting it is still relevant and should not be changed until a permanent CAO is in position.

Councillor Mike Harper said he felt a new study would be in the same scale and scope as 2016.

“When I look at the challenges laid out, the emerging trends, mission and vision statements and corporate values, it feels like it’s only been a couple of years and would not have changed significantly.”

“I won’t support it,” said councillor Brad Nieman. “The plan we have now is working and it captures a lot of where we want to go. I find it hard to believe that in two years it’s no good.”

Councillor Janice Maynard said the 2016 plan is a living document and suggested it could be reviewed and updated by council and staff.

“Could we take the bones of our current strategic plan and review, update and expand on it? To me it’s a more logical way to take a good foundation and shore it up.”

Neil Carbone, Director of Community Development and Strategic Initiatives, said there would be carry over, but 2016’s plan was “quick and dirty” and has a lot lacking in depth and detail. The 2019 proposal, he said, would represent more substance, would reflect change in the community and help council track corporate performance.

Councillor Forrester said the plans only identify, but don’t fix problems.

“I think there’s enough knowledge around this horseshoe. Let’s start doing things, and stop talking about it. We can keep ourselves very busy working on the things that need to be fixed right now instead of doing more studies and finding new things that we will probably never accomplish in the next 40 years.

“If we were to fix the problems that we know we have, we’ll have money to do a lot more things and I think that’s where we should concentrate our efforts.”

Councillor Ernie Margetson said he’s also not a big fan of spending money on studies and would rather focus on asset management planning. “If we were going to spend $40,000 it wouldn’t be on that (new strategic plan).”

Councillor Andreas Bolik echoed fellow councillors’ concerns.

“We’re studying the heck out of things. Let’s get to work. We have expertise in council and expertise in staff. We have an existing plan that’s only two to three years old. Let’s use our brain power to move on with that.”

Mayor Steve Ferguson noted a review may be preferable while the municipality is going through a transitional period with the Chief Administrative Officer’s position.

“I think it is necessary for us to review the study in place, but do think we need the buy-in of the permanent CAO.”

Carbone agreed “the corporation is in a state of flux with the senior leadership position” but recommended “council and the corporation need to move forward.”

He told council the incoming CAO would still be able to put their imprint and leverage in how visions or high level strategies are implemented.

Strategic plans are designed to guide budget and policy decisions. The 2016 plan highlighted priorities including financial sustainability, a business-friendly environment, maintaining rural and historic character; a community with stable employment and affordable housing and sustainable community healthcare.

Councillor John Hirsch was supportive of a plan that would more specifically identify priorities.

“This 2016 plan is kind of ‘motherhood’ stuff and it would be good to get into the depths.”

He agreed with colleagues that council should be identifying the priorities to instruct staff and a new CAO to work on, and didn’t think council needed to wait for the appointment to begin the process.

Corporate work plan from 2016:

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  1. Lynda Westervelt says:

    Plans are fine…..but this plan that is in place doesn’t need to be changed….a plan is a plan….some action on the plan would be wonderful, specifically in the affordable housing area….this has been talked and talked about and to date i have not seen or heard of any concrete action…the ‘shop local’ item is a bit contradictory….shop local, but do not park on our Main Street for more than two hours; shop local, but continue to encourage ‘touristy’ shops everywhere; shop local but we don’t provide a business where a family can actually go and purchase some nice and affordable clothing….GT is great but limited…as a life long resident, born and raised…it truly becomes ‘old’ after a while and faith in our council becomes a bit of a ‘joke’.

  2. sue says:

    SPs are usually in place for a specific period of time. How long is this one? Three years? I don’t want to spend extra money either although I’m not sure how I feel about council taking it in their own hands. They’re not consultants that specialize in this sort of thing. Their job is to use the SP in their ToR and build initiatives. This article doesn’t explain much which worries me, given some of the major issues facing the County. I hope your right about the common sense Paul.

  3. Paul Cole says:

    Finally common sense…

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