by Colin Smith
An update to its strategic plan for the future of Morinville was presented to Town Council at its Committee of the Whole meeting on April 21.
But this “refreshed” strategic plan, developed following a planning session earlier this year, may itself be subject to change as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
The 2019-2021 Strategic Plan approved April last year was intended to set out the priorities, goals, and outcomes for Council’s term and provide direction for the Administration on its goals for the community.
Those goals and initiatives remain unchanged, according to the Strategic Plan Refresh Report presented by MNP consultant James Richardson.
The Report sets out nine strategic priorities for the next two years.
“I think a big part of this is keeping each of these strategic priorities on the council table so we can kick the ball forward,” said Councillor Stephen Dafoe at the Committee of the Whole meeting.
The number one priority in the report is to increase the non-residential base, with the aim of ensuring that the total amount of taxes collected is 80 per cent residential and 20 non-residential.
The idea is to broaden the non-residential tab base, by attracting new businesses to the town.
However, in the current situation, the efforts of the Town of Morinville will be directed more toward supporting the town’s existing businesses than attracting new ones, according to Town Communications Coordinator Tracy Dalzell-Heise, speaking after discussions with Mayor Barry Turner.
Dalzell-Heise said the crisis will require new ideas about creating opportunities for bringing residents together, priority three, at a time when large gatherings are out of the question.
Also affected may be priority four, increasing the effectiveness of resident engagement through public education, communication and consultation.
That is all apart from the financial impact of the pandemic on the Town, which is bound to be substantial but the extent of which is unknown.
Other priorities include the pursuit of collaboration with regional partners, developing an assessment management policy, optimizing the use of municipal facilities and supporting a social community services sector.
Delivering a balanced three-year operating budget and increasing community safety and promoting crime prevention are further priorities.
A major intent of the Strategic Plan Refresh was to provide for more integration between Council’s strategic planning and the Town Administration’s business plan, said Dalzell-Heise.
“I’m really excited to see the evolution of our planning process,” said Turner.
Council will take another look at the Strategic Planning Refresh Report at its May Committee of the Whole meeting.