City plan unfolds

Vernon administration has presented a draft council strategic plan

Goals are becoming a little more clear for Vernon politicians.

Administration has presented a draft council strategic plan and the document covers from 2015 to 2018.

“I’d like to see each councillor champion one item in particular each year. That would bring items to the forefront,” said Coun. Catherine Lord.

Among the key goals are regional collaboration, economic development, parks and recreation, protective services, public services and transportation.

However, there is a push to expand the scope to include social issues.

“The seventh one needs to be social planning and community development,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham.

“I’d like to approach it from a strategic position. Economic development and infrastructure are important but so is community development.”

The goal of regional collaboration will include the master water plan, a new art gallery/museum, expanding Kal Tire Place and a possible boundary adjustment for the Swan Lake corridor.

In terms of economic development, one of the focuses will be helping reduce the number of commercial vacancies. But Cunningham suggests the strategic plan may put too much emphasis on downtown.

“It’s important to have a vibrant downtown but I am also concerned about other areas in the community that have empty spaces,” she said.

“We should include other property owners and have mechanisms to help them. We have to be careful about equity.”

City staff, though, insist the goals include assisting property outside of the downtown core to promote space for lease or sale.

The strategic plan will go before council April 13 for further consideration.

“Achieving the vision and its goals requires a number of deliverables over the next four years,” said Kim Flick, community development director, in a report.

“The deliverables are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. Administration will provide updates on the deliverables and goals every six months by way of a public report card for council’s consideration.”


Vernon Morning Star