County Releases Strategic Plan for 2023-2027

I did not know the County had a strategic plan nor was I aware that they were producing a new one.  But there is a 2019 – 2023 Strategic Plan on their web site as well as the new one. The document is 28 pages with about half devoted to describing the county and the second half to text describing goals. The goals are divided into 5 “pillars” or categories and although Key Performance Indicators are promised, it will be early 2024 before we know what they are and see progress reports using them. There are no specific cost goals or even goals with numbers  – I would use the term “Motherhood” to describe the goals.  (That is, feel good goals as in “motherhood and apple pie” – definition in Resources below).

The goals could be summarized in a few words: Be efficient, do excellent work, be good to employees, provide good customer service, communicate well, be transparent etc. That is, nothing specific – no numbers, lots of mushy stuff.  And no priorities – everything is equally important.

But in the interest of good reporting, I will summarize:

Values

  • Accountability
  • Care & Support
  • Collaboration & Communication
  • Honesty & Integrity
  • Innovation & Excellence
  • Mutual Trust & respect

All good but expected.

Goals

Pillar 1: Innovate for Service Excellence

  • Expand municipal collaboration
  • Integrate leading-edge technologies
  • Enhance strategic financial management
  • Develop talent
  • Strengthen communications and engagement

Pillar 2: Ignite Economic Prosperity

  • Expand connectivity
  • Increase transportation capacity
  • Attract talent
  • Stimulate innovative business

Pillar 3: Foster a Thriving Community

  • Foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization and community
  • Advance Indigenous relations and reconciliation
  • Enhance community health and well-being
  • Increase development of affordable housing
  • Expand pathways out of homelessness
  • Expand services for children and families

Pillar 4: Propel Sustainable Growth

  • Direct growth
  • Build and maintain infrastructure
  • Expand active transportation network
  • Grow a resilient, sustainable tourism sector
  • Respond to the climate crisis
  • Manage waste responsibly

Pillar 5: Champion a Vibrant Future

  • Intensify government relations
    Work with other levels of Government towards a new municipal funding framework that reduces reliance on property tax.

All good things but few surprises, no KPIs and no priorities. The good news (or is it bad news?), there is no mention of a consultant being used.

The above summary just lists headings; in the full report the goals are expanded – it’s available in Resources below.  There are two formats, the usual pdf plus a flip book format for online reading. 

Footnote.  Sorry, but this post includes opinion and not just a reporting of facts.  I must say I’m disappointed – let’s hope the long awaited Cobourg Strategic Plan is better – that is, includes KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and makes priorities clear.

Resources

Definition of a Motherhood statement

A “feel good” platitude, usually by a politician, about a worthy concept that few people would disagree with, without any specified plans for realisation. For example, “Our country must contribute to world peace.”

Print Article: 

 

19 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bryan
5 months ago

NC 2023-27 Strategic Plan

“Leverage funding, financing, and partnerships to purchase land and directly deliver more affordable housing for the community.” 

We can all be reassured at the County’s “affordable” housing capability expertise and competence.
For example, look at the townhouse the County is building at Elgin & D’Arcy. Years late on delivery and WAAAAY over budget. Some estimate the cost of each unit at $1.2M+ net of the land cost. Hardly affordable for most people, let alone the average semi-skilled worker, single parents, young families, seniors etc.

And why another municipal corporation. NC already has a “housing” corporation.

Kevin
Reply to  Bryan
4 months ago

Maybe the new corporation will make use of a federal program that the old corporation didn’t.
Canada rapid housing program missing deadlines: CMHC | CTV News
I wonder if this is the program used by Balder Corporation. Regardless, over 10,000 units were approved with less than 1500 completed by last November. Since nobody is checking if this program is reducing homelessness or who is benefitting it could all be a waste. Hopefully Northumberland County’s new corporation will do better than the federal program.

Dave
Reply to  Kevin
4 months ago

Kevin – this new corporation was formed to specifically to enable housing to be built for purchase to attract people to Cobourg to take jobs here as apparently there is a labour shortage and be offered at a lower price than the current market. It has nothing to do with providing further rental housing, reduce homelessness or be on the market for current Coburg residents.

cornbread
5 months ago

BS from the Feds, BS from the Provincials, BS fom the County, & BS from the Town. Politicians all trying to be re-elected and living off the public purse.

Dave
5 months ago

I wonder if this is what they mean by affordable housing? (Quote from Northumberland News)
and the county plan to attract new talent?
“County council has enacted a bylaw (effective July 19) to establish the Northumberland Workforce Housing Corporation, as a municipal services corporation. Its purpose, in short, and in the words of economic development, tourism and land-use planning staff, will be to address what’s been described as “critical shortages” in the labour market as area employers struggle to recruit and retain workers.”

The plan is to build townhouses for purchase that could be afforded by the planned newly attracted workers.

Kevin
Reply to  Dave
5 months ago

Dave, who is to build the townhouses? Creating a government corporation means government gets bigger. How is the new corporation going to address the worker shortage? Where are the workers to build the townhouses going to come from? Maybe the government employees of the new corporation could afford the townhouses. If what you quoted is real it is just another example of government out of control.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Kevin
5 months ago

Most of the subsidized housing is occupied by the first come first served
a lot of people with connections in there not necessarily Needy

Dave
Reply to  Kevin
5 months ago

Kevin – that is the County’s plan. I did not make up the quote I copied it from the Northumberland News. You can google the subject yourself if you want Kevin. You’ll have to ask these questions of the County for answers. I would suggest you start with Mayor Cleveland in his capacity with the County.

Dave
Reply to  Dave
5 months ago

Don’t shoot the messenger downvoters – just reporting what th county is planning. I hope by this time you have googled what I reported. No I did not make it up Kevin, I copied it as reported from Northumberland News.

Kevin
Reply to  Dave
5 months ago

Thanks Dave for bringing this to our attention. My questions were more rhetorical than expecting an answer. Contacting our mayor is likely a good idea. If the county/town really wants ‘affordable housing’ the county/town would require developers to build less expensive houses, like row houses. The approval process could be streamlined to get housing built as quickly as possible. But that would mean less work for town/county employees. Government is growing out of control. Food and housing are basic needs. ‘Housing crisis’ is often used, now to justify more government. By the time this new housing corporation is up and running, makes a decision, and housing is actually built … That will take years and will not really help at all, but it will create more government jobs. Supposedly it is to address the ‘critical shortages’ in the labour market. Part of our labour market just wants to smoke crack, and worse is some people seem to think this is OK and we should build them houses. I like living in Cobourg, but I have a plan B.

Dave
Reply to  Kevin
5 months ago

Well Kevin, nice to hear from you. Myself I hope for a complete change in the next Federal election that would begin to reverse some of the madness in our society which has been changing the fabric of thought and complete reversal from what i remember prior to the intrusion of the Trudeaus both senior and junior which has created of what is negative. Catch and release, soft on crime, extensive government benefits which have done much to create the labour shortage, massive immigration without thought to housing, hospital care, infrastructure. My thought of a Plan B is tinged with more of the same elsewhere thanks to the policies and politcally correct muzzling on issues. The undoing of what people have come to believe may take years and my time on earth is much shorter now. I can only take comfort in the thought of enjoying my life as I only have one to the best of my ability. I certainly hear you Kevin in the state we have come to.

Cobourg Taxpayer
5 months ago

I believe government at all levels in unable to evaluate performance, the county included. Part of this is zero sense of fiscal responsibility to the taxpayer. Not long after the new county headquarters was completed, staff numbers had already outgrown the building and were located in other buildings. I am sure staffing has only increased. Without an evaluation of performance the taxpayer has no idea what all these county employees are doing. Another extremely disappointing and worrying statistic is the lack of productivity in Canada as compared to other developed nations. Everyone is really good at patting each other on the back but no one looks at performance and productivity. To be honest Canada is fast becoming a third world nation with few reliable news sources, corrupt government which have little oversight, plus the outright anarchy currently on display in Cobourg.

JimT
5 months ago

The county declares it wants to “expand pathways out of homelessness” and at the same time plans to demolish a fully-functioning facility that currently houses 150 or so individuals in comfort, and which is obviously capable of doing so for the forseeable future.

There’s a word for saying one thing and then doing the opposite.

If solving homelessness is a priority, then adapt the existing Golden Plough Lodge for that purpose and use the huge price of tearing it down and carting away the refuse for providing housing instead.

Scottie
Reply to  JimT
5 months ago

On the surface, “adapting the existing Golden Plough Lodge” actually sounds like a good plan, but unfortunately I don’t think it’s workable …do you have any idea the number of staff that would be required to run a facility such as this, not to mention the cost of maintaining this really ancient building into the future. On top of that, I don’t think the “new” facility is supposed to be up and running until about a year from now — so what would be your plan for the immediate future?

Sandpiper
Reply to  Scottie
5 months ago

Affordable housing & Shelter yes
Not if you Moved the Cobourg Police Head Quaters there to the Old Plough which the Cobourg Police were taking about a new Department location . Then merged Cobourg and Port Hope Police Depts and Have Northumberland County Policing with a slow amalgamation so there would not be huge costs of change over Ie : relabelling Police cars or uniforms
The 2 detachments / departments could operate as one yet still have 2 office locations One Management Team and 1 Chief shared resources and equipment And a onsite Police Dept supervisory adjoining the Old Plough and there is loads of Parking not like downtown Cobourg This would make for great financial savings for both Towns and 2 would have 2 centralized locations .
Why doesn’t the County come up with some actual Cost reduction ideas
instead of make work and duplication ??? Job Preservation ?? maybe

Sandpiper
Reply to  JimT
5 months ago

Put the HomeLess back into the Heated space the County Occupies while everyone works from HOME Has anyone actually had a single department employee actually answer the phone or received a return call in the same day and I am not talking Receptionists that pass you off to answering machines when they know there is no one in the office
We are paying to much in salaries for to little results .
Watch the thumbs down come in from staff on this one

Old Sailor
5 months ago

To me the only important goals above are:

  • Increase development of affordable housing
  • Expand pathways out of homelessness

The rest is fluffy wuffy bunk that appears just to fill space and to pacify the 2% of voters who constantly honk their horns at politicians.

Kevin
Reply to  Old Sailor
5 months ago

Old Sailor, those two goals are important but without definitions for ‘affordable housing’ and ‘pathways out of homelessness’ they are not really better than the rest of the fluffy wuffy bunk. This type of stuff has come out of ministries of education for years. Who would argue against expanding pathways out of homelessness, but what does it really mean?

There have been recent demonstrations, both for and against, school board policies around parent rights and the 2SLGBTQ+3CPO community.
We stand unequivocally with the 2SLGBTQ+ community who we know are facing rising discrimination and violence. This was sent to parents from a school board today. What rising discrimination? Every special interest group seems to have more rights than an average, law abiding, working, tax payer.

Look what is happening in Cobourg. Rooming house issues, encampments, fires near the rail lines, now Beyond the Blue Box has burnt. A PSW friend knows someone who qualifies for care but there is no PSW available. More services for more special people will require more workers and more taxes. Government workers themselves need help. I think there is low job satisfaction among Town employees and a large part of our police force is off work due to stress. Really? Try being a white male, working to support your family, have your wife take your children away from you which greatly increases your expenses (lawyers, counselling, etc) then you would have stress. Some homeless have beds, at no cost, and people trying to help them. Where is the help for the working tax payers?

Cobourg has a number of master plans and The Integrated Community Sustainability Plan to rule them all. The County has come out with a new plan. It all amounts to more government busy work. From the school board: What is unfortunate is that the demonstrations and counter demonstrations do not lead to conversation. They do not generate critical thinking, dialogue, or discussion. There is no learning from each other, there is little respect, acceptance or empathy. By standing with the 2SLGBTQ+ community they have made their position clear and do not want to listen to the other side. They listen no better than the demonstrators they criticize. Will government keep growing? We should all sit in a circle hold hands and agree to what I say, without proof, is trending. Do you have a plan to protect yourself when the things get really bad?

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Kevin
5 months ago

The overuse of the term “affordable” housing definitely begs clarification.
Affordable to who” ?
Is it based on realistic statistics of the national/provincial /municipal wages or is just the most popular saying by politicians !?
I suggest the latter.