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Strategic Priorities

Strategic Priorities

THE SHORT VERSION

A strategic plan lays out Council’s vision and goals for its term. Four strategic focus areas I think our next Council should consider adopting are: Connecting Our Community, Working as a Region, Citizen Service, and Growing For the Future

 

THE LONG VERSION

Early next year, our new Council will develop a strategic plan. This document will explain Council’s agenda for its term. The plan will be referenced by administration when creating recommendations, and it will hopefully provide an anchor point for Council’s internal discussions.

At the start of its term, our current Council adopted four strategic focus areas: Strengthening Our Core (ie: working on downtown), Exploring New Directions, Optimizing Existing Services, and Capitalizing on Growth. You can read more about what these mean here: http://www.cityofgp.com/index.aspx?page=731

These current focus areas are important, and still deserve attention. However, our city has changed. The next Council will need to decide what parts to keep, what parts to modify, and what parts to throw away from the old strategic plan. This will be a collaborative process where every Councilor represents the priorities they heard from citizens throughout the election.

Following are some focus areas I think Council should consider. I have shamelessly borrowed ideas from our current strategic plan. I have also borrowed from a couple of dozen other municipalities throughout Alberta and the Peace Country. If elected, I look forward to working with my colleagues to hear their visions and come up with a plan together.

 

Focus Area: Connecting our Community

Why This is Needed: A city where people are connected to others is a community where residents can thrive. A connected city is also one that encourages new people to establish roots and invest in the community long term. Connection is one of our greatest tools for crime prevention and mental health. Finally, a Council which is connected to citizens has the information needed to make wise decisions.

Preferred Future: Grande Prairie is a community where people know their neighbours and where new people feel welcomed and engaged. We are pedestrian friendly with an abundance of accessible gathering places. The City’s unique festivals, events, and artistic traditions are carefully presented to draw people together. Our community’s volunteers find it easy to pursue the causes they are passionate about. People know what Council is talking about and feel they have influence on its decisions. All residents feel pride and ownership in their city.

City Council’s Strategic Directions: Enhance community mobility and accessibility. Pursue partnerships with volunteer driven organisations. Engage the public in major decisions. Identify and promote a positive Grande Prairie identity.

 

Focus Area: Working as a Region

Why This is Needed: As a regional hub, Grande Prairie thrives when our surrounding area thrives. We benefit when our municipal neighbours are doing well. Additionally, we can deliver better services for cheaper if we are partnering with others. We currently have some strong partnerships with other municipalities, but a prosperous future demands we do better. With upcoming changes to provincial law, regional partnerships are likely to be the major issue facing our next Council (for more info, see www.voteBressey.ca/icfs).

Preferred Future: The City of Grande Prairie efficiently meets community needs by working in close partnership with its municipal neighbours. We strongly cooperate with other municipalities to develop our economy, infrastructure, and people. We have successfully negotiated equitable Intermunicipal Collaboration Frameworks (ICFs) with the County and others. On the political and administrative levels, City leaders have friendly and fruitful collaboration with their counterparts in other nearby municipal governments. Grande Prairie and surrounding areas are seeing increased revenue and quality of life due to a growing regional economy.

City Council’s Strategic Directions: Invite other municipalities to engage in early stages of major projects. Pursue collaborative strategies for regional economic, social, and cultural development. Enhance our regional value as a hub community. Foster healthy working relationships with leaders from other municipalities.

 

Focus Area: Citizen Service

Why This is Needed: I have talked to many people who have had frustrating interactions with the City. I’ve heard too many stories of people being turned away at the Eastlink Centre, being sent to multiple departments to get an answer to a simple question, seeing something they view as wasteful of City resources, or having other reasons to feel poorly served. I’ve also talked to many business people who are frustrated at doing business in or with the City. I think our basic services are good, but they could become more efficient and be presented better. It is important that people feel positive about their interactions with the City of Grande Prairie.

Preferred Future: Residents feel cared for and well served whenever they interact with the City. People find it easy to know what is happening in Grande Prairie. Companies find it easy to do business in and with the City of Grande Prairie. Our taxpayers and ratepayers are confident that they get a good return on what they pay. City employees are empowered and respected by Council and management, and it shows in the way they interact with the public.

City Council’s Strategic Directions: Give staff training, resources, and incentives for enhanced citizen service. Explore methods to streamline regulatory and permitting processes. Make public communication a priority in all departments. Enhance efficiency across the corporation.

 

Focus Area: Growing for the Future

Why This is Needed: There are many indicators suggesting our economy is picking up- we seem to be in for a period of growth. We also have recently annexed land that is going to be developed over the next few decades. At the same time, technological changes are likely to fundamentally alter urban living. As our economy and city change and grow, we need to be prepared to meet future needs effectively and to fully capitalize on future opportunities.

Preferred Future: Grande Prairie is prepared for the future. City Council demonstrates governance excellence through leadership and setting clear direction. We maximize our existing infrastructure while reducing our impact on the environment. At the same time, we are building new infrastructure adequate to meet anticipated growth. We are a regional hub for technology and innovation. We capitalize on and respond to current trends while keeping our eyes to future possibilities. Our planning is aware of and responsive to likely technological evolutions. Our employers attract and retain highly skilled individuals from across the country. Opportunities for education allow our citizens to prepare themselves for the future. Our social services are prepared to meet future demands.

City Council’s Strategic Directions: Invest in basic infrastructure adequate for population and business growth. Foster industrial development and value-added manufacturing and processing. Increase collaboration with energy, agriculture, forestry, and other industries. Be aware of new methods and trends in municipal management and service. Invest in non-profits and other services which develop or care for our people.

 

I'd love to hear from you. Are these focus areas important? Which one is the most important? Are there other focus areas Council should consider? Give me a call or email, find me on Facebook, or stop me to chat when you see me around town.

-Dylan