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Community Based Strategic Plan (Posted On: Friday, September 11, 2015)

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A document which signals a monumental, public shift in accountability for Collingwood council came to my eyes, Thursday.

It's the Community-Based Strategic Plan for the Town of Collingwood, which has been in the making since last April.

Getting it together came as a result of Collingwood council appointing a number of people to serve on a citizen's advisory group for this strategic plan document. Those appointed worked with a consultant from the MMM Group.


Full disclosure: I have been a volunteer member of that strategic plan committee.

Yesterday, consultant Andrea Bourrie of MMM Group, who led the charge on this project, presented committee members with a draft of the strategic plan report and walked us through various parts of this document. That was between 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. At 3 p.m., Collingwood council members and others  - including members of the public - were taken through the pages of this plan.

The document will go to Collingwood council at a meeting on September 21, 2015. Prior to this document, which I hope is approved by council promptly, council members on this and previous councils could kick the municipal-government-business ball along the street at any pace; if they chose to kick it. If the ball bounced into a nearby field and didn't immediately come back to council, matters could get lost, or delayed. This 34-page strategic plan should end the matter of delays and deflections.

This strategic plan should initiate a continuity of accountability for our municipal government leaders and town staff. There will be some people who will say this report is too long. They will say it should have been three pages. There will be some people who will say this report is too short.  They will say it should have been 103 pages. As with politics and writers of letters to the editor, there are always people who say that the rain is falling too hard; others will say that it is not falling hard enough.

But possible critics aside, let's cut to the chase.

The preparation of a Collingwood Community Based Strategic Plan is a sensible, bold and absolutely-essential document which will be good for our community. I consider this strategic plan document has three main parts:

1. The goals: think of them as findings, broken down under headings.
2. One page which is simply titled: "Translating Vision Into Action".
3. The Report Card section.

The first part focuses on the result of feedback and research and - in no order of priority - sets out five goals:
- Accountable Local Government.
- Public Access to a Revitalized Waterfront.
- Support for Economic Growth.
- Healthy Lifestyle.
- Culture and the Arts.

The page "Translating Vision Into Action" is a springboard to the third section.
The third section - the Report Card ( and I really like this a lot!) sets out action items tied to the five goals, provides suggested time frame for action and lists Key Performance Indicators. There has been a lot of work that has gone into this strategic plan document. There is a lot of material to support what this plan document suggests.

There is still a lot to do. But this plan is an excellent start.

Given that Collingwood council accepts this report on September 21st, the next thing council members are going to have to do is ensure that follow-up on priorities begins immediately.

One such priority is a waterfront plan for Collingwood; for all of the waterfront from one side of town to the other. After that the town staff team has to work together with council to ensure that goals are clearly understood and that the measurement of progress to achieve those goals - as detailed clearly in this strategic plan - begins immediately - not next month, not months from now: immediately!

The strategic plan initiative has been an open book. The strategic plan sets out goals for the short term, medium term and for the long term (perhaps beyond the current council's term). As in business big and small, there is always a crack left open in any door to revisit a strategic plan and update it because of changing market conditions.

But at this writing, Collingwood - council, staff and taxpayers - have a living document that targets things for which people have called; things that people consider important. Next, residents of Collingwood must open their hearts and minds to allow Collingwood council and town staff to knuckle down and get things done. 

And while that is happening, watch for strategic plan updates, clear reports about progress (or lack of progress) and continue to enjoy life in our marvelous community.
Be proud Collingwood!

GEORGE CZERNY 


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