When the mayor and council announced their strategic plan, they did more than announce the direction the town would take during the balance this council’s mandate—they set in place their own goals for Fort Frances.
It may be symbolic the document was published on red paper, but this council will be expected to carry out the plan as the Chrétien government has been held accountable to its famous “Red Book.”
By developing the goals behind closed doors, without input from the public, the only people to blame will be themselves if the goals are not accomplished. They cannot complain of not having public participation or acceptance.
This council, in its document, aims to take on the role of leadership and be action-oriented. This council has determined that everything is open for review—both by internal evaluation and citizen input.
Beginning with core services, council is examining which ones are most effectively delivered by existing staff and which the municipality is better off contracting out.
Council has placed the development of information technology as its most important initiative. The bringing of high-speed Internet connectivity to the community is a top priority. And council has indicated the spending of tax dollars on this technology development.
It is the first item that can be checked on when the final budget is passed.
Council also wants to pursue an Area Services Board. They want to work in collaboration with neighbouring First Nations on an economic development strategy and develop “peer-to-peer” relationships with band councils.
Council formally has recognized it must work with all the communities across the district. They have opened the door and now they must both cross the threshold to other communities—and invite their peers back into Fort Frances.
Ten strategies have been laid out in the strategic plan, and the document is worthwhile reading. Writing the strategies down is an important first step. It benchmarks where this council is starting from.
In 2002 and 2003, the citizens can begin to determine how well this council—and the Town of Fort Frances—is doing on the issues it says are most important.