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Strategic plan update to ask community where it sees County over next 10 years

The new council is being asked to have a look at the County’s 10-year strategic plan and seek help from the community to refresh and make wanted changes.

The existing strategic plan was adopted in 2016, and renewed in 2020. Its stated priorities are: financial sustainability, corporate culture, infrastructure renewal, maintain rural and historic character, stable and diversified economy, livable community and adapting to climate change.

Last January, Aidan Grove-White, a director with StrategyCorp, told council the plan is not adequately defined and linked to operating plans and budgets and while its goals are valid, they lack specific outcomes.

A check-in on the plan had been requested, but further work was put off in March as was determined the council was too late into the electoral cycle to devote the time, effort and resources necessary.

Grove-White returns to council tonight with recommendations of five conversations to be had with the public to chart direction over the coming decade.

These conversations would occur by way of surveys, at town halls and workshops in early 2023 to inform the “Towards a 10-year Community Plan Report” to be delivered in the Spring.

The conversations StrategyCorp recommends:

1. Strengthening County government’s engagement with the public
• The municipality is already seen as doing a good job of maintaining community engagement with their local government, and respondents want to build on this success.
• How to ensure more community members are productively engaged when important decisions are made.
• What barriers still exist for engagement with the public and how to overcome them.
• Begin the conversation about what residents want from their councillors, both on immediate ward issues and how the overall County is governed.

2. Diversifying the County’s economy while preserving our historic character
• Defining central County concepts of “rural” and “historic character” so they can be operationalized by the County.
• Balance maintaining functional rural communities and preserving the historic character of settlement areas.
• Using the tools the County has to help shape the economy to deliver a good quality of life for all residents.

3. Aligning our infrastructure investments and fiscal policy priorities
• Developing a plan to identify and fund the long-term infrastructure needs of the community (both maintaining existing infrastructure and building new where required).
• Balancing infrastructure funding needs with the ability of residents to pay taxes.

4. Harnessing the benefits of tourism to improve residents’ quality of life
• As the county becomes a more attractive destination there are increased opportunities to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of residents.
• While tourism has brought a lot to the County, and has the potential to bring more, it also comes with challenges that need to be managed.
• Building more housing is part of the solution for improving affordability, but it could degrade the rural feel of the County.
• Limiting the use of residential properties by short-term accommodation or for use as “second residences” for non-permanent residents may form part of the solution.

5. Responding to the climate emergency and reduce the challenges we face
• Deciding how the County should prioritize addressing climate change, i.e., through emission reduction activities or by adapting to it.
• What goal or targets should the County be reaching for in addressing climate change?

Council meets tonight at 7 p.m. at Highline Hall, Wellington. The meeting is to be lived streamed on YouTube.

Filed Under: Local News

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