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Update: June 18th Cannabis Bylaws

Update: June 18th Cannabis Bylaws

On Monday night Council had an eventful meeting… The big business of the night was cannabis. 12 delegations presented their views. It was a diverse group which included potential retailers and producers, citizens supportive to a liberal approach to legalization, citizens asking for a cautious approach, and citizens adamantly opposed to legalization. Then Council got into bylaw debate- all four bylaws before us were passed.

Help me with my homework [again]! Descriptions of a successful community.

Council is undergoing a strategic planning process. I am excited for it because of the Priority Based Budgeting system we are adopting for 2019. This budget method will mean that our strategic plan will impact spending in very big and very direct ways.

Our strategic plan will have very high level objectives that Council wants the City to pursue. These objectives will encompass what we think it means for Grande Prairie to be a successful community. Attached to each objective will be descriptors of what meeting each objective entails.

We'll be able to express our strategic plan using a table like this- the top row is objectives another city adopted, the following rows are how it described them.


Every City program is going to be evaluated using the strategic tool we develop. It will be given a score based on what descriptors it contributes to. Then its funding will be tied to the score it receives. That means that the objectives and descriptors we select are going to have a very large impact on how the City is run. So I'd love to hear your input!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about our work in coming up with objectives. Council submitted individual ideas and then discussed them as a group. A few category themes emerged. For now, our objectives are leaning towards the following categories:

  • Community
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Infrastructure
  • Safety
  • Service
  • Governance

Now we are being asked to brainstorm descriptors to go along with these category themes.

I don't know the exact process our facilitators have in mind. But I know that this is going to be an iterative process. We'll take a look at the descriptors Councillors come up with, let those shape the objectives we select, then use our objectives to select the final list of descriptors. Nothing is set in stone (or even soft clay) yet. We are still just brainstorming ideas and possibilities.

As we do that, I'd love to have your ideas to mull over.

What does it look like for us to be meeting objectives coming out of the above categories? If we are building a strong community or economy, how would you describe that? If we were proactively planning and caring for our environment and infrastructure, how would you describe that? How would you describe what it looks like to deliver good service and governance?

Feel free to leave a comment, reply on Facebook, send me an email, or give me a call. However, the best tool to share your ideas is through this Google Sheet.

Along the bottom is a series of tabs- one for each category. Click on the categories which interest you. In Column A, write a few descriptors you think are important in this category. If someone already wrote one you support, put an "x" next to it in column B.

TIP: there might be a category you feel is important but got missed. I'd encourage you to work it into descriptors for a few categories. For example, I feel that regional thinking is vitally important. But it hasn't been selected as a category (for now). So I am going to make sure some aspect of regional thinking works its way into a number of descriptors I end up submitting. The above categories are not set in stone, but they are what we are working with for now. However, they may change if we see another theme emerge in the descriptors.

I'll be reading your thoughts over the weekend. They will inform the descriptors I submit on Monday.

Thanks for thinking about our community with me!


Help me with homework! Strategic Priorities

Help me with homework! Strategic Priorities

Council often feels like school: I write a lot, I read even more, and most of my time is spent showing up places to learn something new. This week the illusion was made complete when I was given homework. It even has the same deadline I toiled under for most of college: 4:30pm on Monday. Since I also have a Super Bowl to watch, want to help me out?

My task (a long with the rest of Council): figure out what we feel Grande Prairie needs to do to be a successful community. And we have been tasked with expressing that in a specific format. I'd love to see you take a shot at it!

What are 5 one or two word phrases you think should be the strategic priorities for our City? To make sure I understand them, I’d also love to hear a few results you would hope to see coming out of these priorities. For bonus points, put them in order of priority (high priority first).

Downtown Rehabilitation: Bids are Open

Today the City released a tender for the next phase of Downtown Rehabilitation. This summer we will be doing 100 Ave from 100 St to 102 St. What was released today will allow companies to bid on the work.

You may be interested in this blog post: I wrote it shortly before we voted on Downtown Rehabilitation. It gives some background information and explains why I voted in favour of going ahead with the next phase this year.

The earlier phases of this project provided many learning experiences. To approve continuation, Council had to be confident that the future phases would go more smoothly. Administration is making many process changes. However, there are five in particular that give me confidence this work will be done as painlessly as possible:

  • Getting the tender out now. Our current timeline should allow work to begin as soon as the ground is thawed. An early start is key to success.
  • A communications budget. Council added $125,000 to the project to go towards communications. Staff will be well resourced to communicate with effected businesses and to let the public know businesses are open and how to access them.
  • A City point person. Administration will have a full-time person tasked with overseeing this project. This person will be given authority to direct contractors and to speak on the City's behalf. They will be given responsibility to implement great communication plans. And they will be mandated to be a single point of contact for effected businesses.
  • City participation at Downtown Business Association (DBA) meetings. Senior members of our staff will be attending DBA meetings throughout the project. This will ensure that they are receiving real-time feedback about any problems that arise.
  • Regular Council updates. Progress updates will be given to Council every two weeks via the Infrastructure and Protective Services committee. This will allow us to properly monitor the project and to pass on feedback we have received.

I've heard many ideas from our staff and from downtown businesses about how to make the best of this summer. Many of them are common sense. But some are really smart and some are lots of fun. I'm looking forward to seeing how our downtown community comes together. I'm also really excited to walk on a beautiful street knowing that I am a few feet above proper underground plumbing.

As always, I welcome any thoughts, feedback, or questions.

Thanks for reading;