• Dawn Riley

Town Council Begins Strategic Planning


Town Councillors will begin the process of strategic planning on February 10, 11 and 12. Working with Sage Analytics, councillors, along with some town directors and staff, will be drafting and planning their vision for the future of Vermilion as well as identify the goals and objectives for the council while they are in office. Usually this process also includes establishing the priority of those goals so that the council is able to reach its vision and adhere to its mission statement.

All municipalities in Alberta establish and write strategic plans after every municipal election, and often new councils will build on the actions of the previous plan as well as adding new actions to suit changes in the community that may have occurred.

So what makes a good strategic plan? Well, that depends a little on the model an organization follows. Some say there are only three steps to follow to create an effective strategic plan, and others believe there are five or even seven things that need to be done.

All templates do agree that an organization must have a vision and mission statement to adhere to in order to establish an effective and achievable strategic plan. The second thing many successful plans also do is get input from those who the plan can impact. In the case of a municipality, that would be the residents of the community.

The Town of Vermilion recognizes the valuable insights that residents have about the community and its potential for change and growth. Residents are invited to let the council know if there are things they would like them to consider and take into account while working on the plan. This can include things like accessibility to places, safety measures, infrastructure challenges, new businesses they would like to see and even utility expenses. The plan is an ongoing working document and takes some time to put together, so residents have some time to submit their thoughts.

In order to identify some of the present needs, potential challenges and positives of an organization or community, a strategic planning session should include a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis. This analysis allows planners to identify and prioritize what needs to be considered when creating their action plan. Strategic plans are meant to look at all aspects of an organization, and a SWOT is a concise way to not miss anything.

Municipal strategic plans are not a secret document kept under lock and key, they are public knowledge and accessible to residents of a community. The plan created by the previous council is available for viewing on the Town’s website, showing everything that the last council was looking to accomplish or continue. It is worth checking out if you have things you would like the new council to consider in their planning sessions, as it may have been something the last council had already started looking into.

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