After a day and a half meeting to establish a new Strategic Plan, Council came up with a draft plan with a focus that is different to the last council. There are new actions that emphasize social issues such as affordable housing while not forgetting hot issues like extra boat slips in the Marina. The format of the plan is somewhat different with “Pillars” replacing “Objectives”. To reflect the changes, a new Vision and Mission have been written. Before being officially adopted, the draft Strategic Plan will be presented to the Public for comment and possible review but I am reporting on what was said in their meeting and providing some highlights. All councillors and senior staff participated and the session was expertly led by Carolyn Kearns.
As is usual in a Strategic Planning session, the first step was a review of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT Analysis). The lists were long with a few surprises and since they impact many subsequent decisions, I have listed them in this pdf for download here.
Once the SWOT was done, the “Key Strategic Issues to be addressed” were established although the list did not seem to make much difference to the ultimate action plan (the list is included anyway in the SWOT document).
Then the Vision and Mission Statement were reviewed and were significantly changed.
Cobourg … a progressive vibrant lakeside community, honouring our past and embracing our future.
|Cobourg … a vibrant inclusive community where everyone has access to meaningful opportunities and experiences
The Corporation of the Town of Cobourg is committed to open and accountable governance and to the provision of accessible services in a fiscally responsible manner.
|The Town of Cobourg is committed to open and accountable governance and the provision of quality, accessible programs and services in a sustainable manner
The next step is to set objectives although it was decided to go with single word descriptions called Pillars – these have accompanying descriptions and a list of actions. The five Pillars chosen were People, Places, Programs, Prosperity and Partnerships. But in the end, it’s the actions that are of most interest. These list what the Council will be doing – or attempting to do – over the next 4 years.
The Town supports and cares for the social and physical well-being of its citizens
- Create a housing strategy that is in alignment with Northumberland County’s housing strategy
- Implement a municipal youth program
- Encourage healthy lifestyles across all age groups
- Continue to pursue the Age Friendly Communities designation
The Town protects, preserves and promotes its natural assets, heritage, arts, culture and tourism
- Investigate the creation of additional heritage conservation districts as outlined in the heritage master plan
- Create a climate change action plan
- Review the expansion of boat slips into the west harbour recommendation contained in the waterfront master plan [The intent seems to be for this new council to vote on stopping this at least for the term of the Council]
- Upon completion of the cultural master plan, consider the creation of a Town arts, culture and tourism division
- Continue implementation of the downtown vitalization plan
- Review and improve the financial performance of Town operated facilities.
The Town provides efficient and effective corporate, community, business and recreational services for its residents, businesses and visitors
- Develop an information technology strategic plan
- Develop an integrated records management system
- Implement a comprehensive management plan for all of the Town’s assets
- Explore the feasibility of enhanced sidewalk snow clearing
- Review and assess appropriateness of agreements with third party contracts
- Review the mandate of the Town’s economic development department
- Continue to explore communications priorities including social media and public engagement tools
The Town plans for, markets and develops assets for economic growth and financial security
- Develop a policy for establishing shovel-ready development lands
- Coordinate funding opportunities to optimize community development capital and special projects funding
- Review the feasibility of expanding the Northam Industrial Park
- Explore innovative solutions to improve the connectivity between the beach/waterfront and downtown Cobourg
- Develop resources to support small businesses coming to Cobourg
The Town engages in strong, sustainable public private partnerships to improve the quality of life for everyone
- Explore feasibility of partnerships to develop a social services community hub for community health priorities such as food security, mental health, drug addiction and homelessness
- Explore future partnerships with Venture 13 to promote innovation, education and entrepreneurial opportunities
- Continue to work with Sustainable Cobourg and other stakeholders on greening Cobourg initiatives
- Work with transit authorities in the area to integrate transit services.
On day 2, the work of the previous day was reviewed and tweaked – the above is after the work on day 2. Council and Staff also went through a prioritizing exercise where they had to use green dots to indicate their top priorities (they each got 4 dots). The result of this will not be part of the Strategic Plan but will help staff know what to do first. The top priorities (3 dots or more) were an IT strategic plan, a housing strategy, implementing a records management system and continuing the asset management plan, setting up Venture 13 Partnerships and setting a policy for shovel-ready development lands.
There was then a discussion of Values (Council may have an exercise similar to a strategic planning exercise to decide on the Town’s core values), some debate on taxes (there needs to be better communication to taxpayers on the value for the money) and a quick mention of the ongoing review of the Town’s committees.
Below are some photos from the event.