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Council passes strategic plan

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Entitled “Our Vision . . . Our Future . . . Our Town,” council approved the town’s corporate strategic plan at Monday night’s meeting, setting an ambitious number of goals for the Town of Fort Frances to strive towards in the next two years and beyond.

The strategic plan resulted directly from a day-long planning session held Sept. 5, at which time council and senior members of the management team met to review and revise the community and corporate vision statements, develop a list of corporate values, and develop four broad categories of goals: economic development, essential services, quality of life, and corporate initiatives.

Within each of these, a series of individual strategies to meet those goals then were developed (some of these strategies are to be done in partnership with other agencies, and some already are underway or recently completed).

The economic development strategies, and their target completion dates, include:

•An official plan review (Sept., 2009);

•Economic development plan (Sept., 2011);

•Municipal property inventory valuation report (industrial: Oct., 2008, commercial: June, 2009, and residential: Aug., 2009);

•Financial Incentive Plan (Nov., 2008);

•Condominium feasibility report (Dec., 2008);

•Investment readiness package (Dec., 2008);

•Business Retention and Expansion Plan (Oct., 2008);

•Review of previous community studies (Feb., 2009); and

•Economic Development Commission feasibility study (May, 2009);

The essential services strategies, and their completion dates, include:

•Facilities maintenance report (June, 2009);

•Fire services master plan (Feb., 2009);

•Emergency plan review (annual);

•Police services review and negotiations (June, 2010);

•Long-term management for the municipal infrastructure and renewal program (infiltration/inflow study: Oct., 2010; long-term planning program: to be determined);

•Implementation of water meters within the community (Dec., 2010);

•Inspection of water treatment plan—raw water intake line (Nov., 2009);

•Sewage treatment plant optimization study/upgrades (optimization study: Dec., 2008; equipment installation: Nov., 2009);

•Quality management system for water system (Feb., 2010);

•Airport management system (Oct., 2012); and

•Implementation of minimum maintenance road standards (Nov., 2009).

The quality of life strategies, and their completion dates, include:

•Active Transportation Plan (Jan., 2009);

•Fort Frances Public Library and Technology Centre completion (April, 2010);

•Heritage Tourism Plan Phase II (Dec., 2009);

•Access to Recreation policy (Nov., 2008);

•Childcare services review (May, 2009);

•Expansion of cemeteries (Dec., 2009);

•Review doctor recruitment incentive package (Dec., 2008); and

•Review assisted living request (Nov., 2008).

The corporate initiatives strategies, and their completion dates, include:

•Sustainable Community plan (Sept., 2010);

•Property standards review (March, 2009);

•Long-term capital management plan (June-Sept., 2009);

•Investigation of municipal ownership of Sunny Cove (Dec., 2008);

•Digitizng bylaws (Feb., 2009);

•Educating the public on Local Gov’t Week (Oct., 2008);

•Customer complaint process review (annual);

•PSAB 3150 implementation—standards required for the recording and reporting of tangible capita assets in the financial statements of the municipality (March-Dec., 2009);

•Succession/mentoring program (Oct., 2009).;

•Review and revise council orientation program (Sept., 2010); and

•Strike an ad hoc forestry committee (Dec., 2008).

The results were reviewed by management, and responsibilities and timelines then were brought forward for further council input and and approval, culminating in the document approved Monday evening.

CAO Mark McCaig noted the document is easy to follow, and presents a timeline to follow and responsibilities outlined for each of the four town divisions.

“This is a document that we intend to, on a regular basis at our managers’ meetings, discuss where we are along the road to accomplishing the next benchmark, the next milestone, and we will report and have it as a regular agenda item periodically at council to discuss where we’re at in regards to some projects,” he noted.

“It’s not just that we’ve listed them . . . now we have a responsibility to report on the progress to and among council and to the community.”

McCaig added the 32-page strategic plan will be posted on the town’s website at www.fort-frances.com

He clarified it’s not a total community strategic plan but rather a corporate strategic plan, although some of the exercises within the document will require the input of community stakeholders.

“In the future, maybe the Town of Fort Frances will be looking at a full community strategic plan but at this point, we’re a little bit into council’s mandate and we wanted to get this thing kick-started and identify a template that we could use, maybe even into the future,” said McCaig.

“We can’t presume to know what any other council’s going to do, but I look at it and I think it’s pretty effective.

“We appreciate the vision and leadership from this council in making sure that this task got done, and it really helps administration when we do our job because we can look at the values and beliefs that council has stated in this plan and activities that we do; we should always keep these principles and values at the forefront.

“I’m very happy with the document, and I’m sure over the next couple years when we’re going through it and reporting on it, we’ll identify some shortcomings where we can make some improvements and make it even better in the years ahead,” he added.

Mayor Roy Avis thanked council and administration for working together on the strategic plan, noting this is the first time a strategic plan has been completed since he’s been on council.

Coun. Andrew Hallikas said he liked the format, and those who put it together (Darryl Allan and Lori Pattison) should be thanked.

Coun. Ken Perry said he had a few small problems with the plan and its timelines, such as the implementation of water meters (when council hasn’t discussed it enough) and the building of the new library (when the job hasn’t been put out to tender yet).

But McCaig clarified the timelines don’t necessarily mean certain projects will take place—just that council should have discussed them and have a position on them by the specific times. For example, council may choose not to implement water meters in homes.

McCaig said 100 percent of what’s in the plan may not get done for one reason or another, and there are some initiatives, like a long-term asset management plan for essential services, that probably will go beyond the mandate of the current council, which ends Nov. 30, 2010.

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