Council has been working diligently since we were elected last fall to understand the issues and the processes of local government and develop our strategic plan. We want to have a solid plan in place to guide our priorities over the next four years. Each goal we establish will have appropriate tactics and actions associated with it to help move our goal forward. You can look for our final version to be made public very soon but I’d like to talk about our goals here and provide you with just a few of the items that are associated with each goal.
As of the current draft, Council has established seven strategic goals:
1. Promoting economic prosperity: Specifically, we want to improve our airport and harbor to attract more business and visitors to our community. We will focus on economic development opportunities with a special focus on initiatives that can improve our key industry, tourism.
2. Enhancing fiscal sustainability: The two main aspects of this goal are establishing a solid asset management plan and building up district reserves so we are prepared for a rainy day.
3. Community livability: There is so much we can do to achieve this goal but we will start with neighbourhood planning; housing affordability; support for arts, culture and our community-lead local events; and improving our transportation infrastructure including roads, sidewalks and bike lanes.
4. Managing growth effectively: Our Official Community Plan is the most important plan we have. It is a plan based on your input that guides all of our development decisions and it really needs to be updated. We will get to work on that as soon as we can.
5. Revitalize downtown: We want to work with the Sechelt Downtown Business Association to make some improvements and reduce vacancies in our downtown core.
6. Improving operations and infrastructure: Our Parks and Public Works staff currently work out of a tent so we really need a building for them. And we want to work on a plan for using the reclaimed water from our Water Resource Centre.
7. Enhancing partnerships and collaboration: There are four local municipalities on the Coast and we want to establish regular meetings and build those relationships so we can identify opportunities to work more collaboratively to find efficiencies and improve services.
Many of you will notice that water is not in our strategic plan. Water is the responsibility of the regional district and while it is a priority for us to work with them to find a solution to our water storage problem, it is not a strategic priority that will guide other decisions. We will continue to lobby, to push, to brainstorm, to think outside the box and to work collaboratively on this issue. And we will keep you informed.
Much of what we do over the next four years will involve you. Many of the issues we work on, will need your input. To that end, we are also working on a Public Participation Strategy. This is a guide that will help staff to develop robust engagement plans on projects and issues that are important to you. Help us to create that toolkit by taking the Public Participation Survey. You will find it at Sechelt.ca/haveyoursay or there are paper copies in the lobby outside the library.