Council Adopts Strategic Priorities
The Municipal Council has approved its Strategic Priorities Framework. In December 2017, the Council worked with Dr. Gordon McIntosh to develop a process and identify areas of importance for council to focus is efforts. Dr. MacIntosh has an extensive consultancy in local government effectiveness and has facilitated successful Canada-wide workshops for elected, advisory and/or staff members.
The priority setting process employed by the Municipal Council began with establishing a shared understanding of the organization’s purpose and future aims for the community. Issues and opportunities were identified and reviewed to arrive at strategic topics for further consideration.
Council’s December 2017 priority setting process followed the open systems model of strategic planning. Beginning with the end in mind, the preferred future is described. This vision for the community is informed by elected official contact with a wide range of residents and groups as well as previous municipal planning documents and studies.
The top priority of the Council is to improve communication service to our residents in terms of broadband (high speed internet and cell service). The Rural Connectivity Strategy's planning and budgeting phase will start immediately under the leadership of our Ad Hoc Communications Committee. Council foresees this being a multi-year project if the planning and budgeting phases show it to be feasible.
A second goal or priority also involves communication. We want to better communicate with our residents, so they better know and understand what we are doing and they can more easily inform us of their concerns and issues. One approach is our newly revamped web site and a the development of a social media presence. Council is also exploring the televising of all Council and Committee meetings that can be live streamed, all aimed at better informing the people that are paying the bills.
A third priority is a complete revamp of our recreational strategy for our rural communities. Both our physical and mental health, not to mention simply enjoying country life are closely related to recreational opportunities close to where we live. Our demographics are changing, with many of us slowing down a bit, and recreation takes on a different look. Our Ad Hoc Recreation Committee will be looking closely at all these factors over the winter months and Council will decide what is doable at budget time.
Tied to recreation and what directions are decided on there, Council has prioritized reviewing our grants policies, including Council Grants, Municipal Services Grants, and Recreation Grants. The aim will be to decide if sufficient dollars are available and if they are evenly available in all geographic areas and between various sectors of activity.
The fifth priority is to have a series of bilateral meetings with the other 5 municipalities in Pictou County, one Council at a time. Warden Robert Parker says
The hope is that by getting to know the Councillors from the towns better, we will find some cost saving opportunities and also get to know each other better so that if we hit a rough spot we may be better prepared to solve it. We can be good neighbors even though we prefer to live in our own house.