Highlands council has approved a new strategic plan to guide the district’s priorities from now until 2026.
The plan, adopted by council on Monday (March 6), aimed to both ensure projects started by the previous council were continued and completed, as well as establishing new short- and long-term projects, said Mayor Ken Williams.
”I’m always a very practical person when it comes to my wants and likes,” said Williams. “We have new grant money coming in from the government, so I’d like to see that put into improving our roads and infrastructure, but of course I would like to see the cycling and trail initiatives gain some ground as well.”
Williams said a major part of the plan was the establishment of five overarching goals and priorities used as a lens to ensure the specific projects outlined are in tune with the broader vision for the mostly rural community of 2,482 residents as of the 2021 census.
Those overall goals and priorities include climate emergency, adaptation, and mitigation, emergency preparedness, resiliency, and recovery, water resources and environmental protection, rural values, protection, enhancement and community well-being.
Two new items in the plan Williams highlighted were a municipal organization review aimed at assessing the district’s current structure to evaluate what changes will be needed as the area continues to grow, and the production of a staff report aimed at exploring ways for district hall to improve its communications, both with residents and the public, plus other governments.
”Growth is always a big can of worms, so it’s something we will get a staff report back on. It’s something that over the next four years will be good to look at, especially with our small staff,” said Williams. “The communications element, well we have around 39 square kilometres here and we used to reach out to residents through Canada Post, but the routes have changed, so we can’t do that now without it getting a lot more expensive … the topic came up in the election so it’s a good thing to look at.”
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