In my inaugural speech back in December 2014, I indicated I would be asking Council to undertake a 20 year strategic vision exercise.
After a nearly year-long development and consultation process, a 20 Year Strategic Vision has been approved that will serve as a cornerstone for Council and City administration when making decisions with respect to programs, services, and infrastructure, and provide the community with an avenue for input on the future of the City.
John Naisbitt’s quote above is indicative of the reasoning behind the strategic visioning exercise. The City has numerous long-term plans and reports that have been developed, ranging from individual infrastructure projects, such as the Central Riverfront Implementation Plan, to the Parks & Recreation Master Plan, which guides the direction of the park system and its operational management. These plans, however, cannot be left to sit on a shelf. Plans require a vision to help direct their implementation and to ensure that they remain relevant to today’s needs.
Twenty years may seem like a long time when you compare it to our four year election cycle or the rapid pace of technological advancements, but there are many projects that require years of planning.
With the data available to us today, we have the ability to forecast things such as when the space in our landfill will run out, an issue that will cost significantly more to deal with if we do not start planning for it now. A 20 Year Strategic Vision is also in line with the long-term planning practices of other cities such as Edmonton, Toronto, Copenhagen, our sister city Gunsan, and Vancouver, Washington, which have all engaged in long-term planning exercises of 10 to 25 years.
As a new Mayor, and with a Council that has several new faces, it was important to me to develop a common goal that could be used as a rallying point for the rest of our term, as well as a reasonable picture of where the City is headed over the next 20 years to help guide our decision making.