A clear vision for the next two years is what politicians in the Town of Sidney have outlined in their most recent strategic plan.
Revealed late last month, the Town’s 2014-2015 Strategic Plan is the public document created out of discussions between councillors and staff on what the priorities should be in the community.
The focus is on four areas: a balanced and healthy community, quality community spaces, sustainable infrastructure and organizational excellence.
Mayor Larry Cross said the recent citizen satisfaction survey played a role in the outcome of this planning session.
“It reinforced the direction council and the Town have been going,” Cross said.
That survey showed the importance to residents of issues like transportation (street safety, pedestrian areas, traffic calming, transit and even Beacon Avenue traffic direction) and social issues (affordable housing). Overall, the survey also showed people are, in general, satisfied with the direction of the municipality. That, said Cross, was encouraging to learn.
With that information in hand, council hopes to strengthen the Town in a variety of areas and help shore it up for the future.
Balanced Healthy Community
Sidney’s strategic plan outlines three goals to achieve a balanced, health community. Those are: supporting local groups engaged in community and economic development; fostering a more balanced demographic, and; seeking economic development. Making all of that happen comes down to establishing policies, promoting events, seeking partnerships and recognizing people’s good work.
Quality Community Spaces
There are four goals in this category, ranging from compact development and landscaping to pedestrian-friendly connections and park planning. Setting policy and creating links within the community are ways they hope to get there.
Council states it must be pro-active in maintaining its infrastructure, as all municipalities in B.C. and beyond face challenges in aging pipes, sewers and roads — with fewer and fewer higher-level government resources to fund their replacement. Over the next two years, expect to see plenty of long-term plans being formulated in this area.
Simply put, this is how Sidney hopes to be the best municipality it can in how it deliver service to its residents. Do so will range from watching their budget carefully and seeking opportunities for community engagement, to upgrading how people can interest with their local government.
The devil’s always in the details, and more strategic plan information can be read on the Town’s website (www.sidney.ca) under news and notices.
Chief Administrative Officer Randy Humble said the next step will be for staff to review those objectives and incorporate them into their regular work plans, making sure the effort lines up with council’s direction.
Strategy extends beyond next election day
Sidney’s strategic plan is a long-term planing document but it does have a two-year time limit. That takes the plan beyond next November’s municipal election date and this council’s mandate.
Mayor Larry Cross has been clear during his time on council that he wants to maintain the direction taken by former administrations in helping make the community better — and he said he hopes this council is also planning for the future of their town. Issues such as the replacement or upgrading of Beacon Avenue wharf are listed multiple times in the strategic plan and Cross said he realizes such items may take a lot longer to solve than one council term.
On the wharf itself, Cross said Sidney is keeping its eyes open for grants and work done last year bought the wharf more time. CAO Randy Humble added a more long-term fix must be explored.
As for the plan going beyond November, 2014, Cross said he hopes to be around to continue the work, confirming at this time he is planning on running for re-election.