Colwood lays out immediate goals for city to focus on

Colwood council and municipal staff brainstormed priorities, whittling down list of 150 to the the top five

Colwood city council and staff have released a report identifying their strategic priorities for the rest of 2012 and beyond.

Over four months, city councillors and senior staff, with the assistance of a facilitator, brainstormed their top goals for the city.

A list of 150 priorities was whittled down to a top 11.

Within that, they made a top five list of primary focuses for the city.

The report calls them “Now” priorities: protecting Lagoon Road bridge and foreshore, developing an economic strategy, improving city communications, reviewing the city’s staff levels and organization and addressing sewage treatment options.

The next six priorities are seen as developing a transportation plan, updating the land-use bylaw, coming up with an urban forest strategy, writing a new subdivision and development bylaw, establishing a social plan and deciding on a capital asset replacement plan.

Councillor and strategic and financial planning committee chair Rob Martin said developing the report has been a way for council and staff to bring together everyone’s various opinions and intentions, and turn them into some concrete guidelines for council.

“The idea was that we were to create some common focus for the entire council and hopefully create some stability for staff,” Martin said, “so they understood that council is all on the same page.”

The idea is to bring the strategies in front of council to review quarterly, to make sure they are living up to the priorities and to give the public a chance to weigh in on council’s direction.

“It creates accountability from a council standpoint to the general public,” Martin said. “We’re hoping that the public will hold us accountable to making sure we actually follow through in getting this work done.”

Martin admits the list is a compromise but that’s not a bad thing.

The chosen priorities are not his top five, nor are they the exact ones chosen by any other councilor. But, as each councilor ran on different platforms, and as each has their own vision and opinions, the report will help focus council while incorporating everyone’s two cents.

“We have to be thinking about the entire city, and not just about what our personal interests are,” Martin said. “This is us being open with each other and being really receptive to other people’s points of view.”

Mayor Carol Hamilton sees the report as a positive step and said she is looking forward to seeing the city move ahead on those goals, however long they take to accomplish.

“If we can keep the train on the tracks, as they say, than we’ve got lots of time to keep it moving forward,” Hamilton said.

A sign with the top five priorities on it will be made and hung on the council chamber’s wall as a reminder to both the public and council on what direction they should be heading.

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