Altona Town Council has a new strategic plan, one year into its mandate.
"When our team started, we looked back to the previous four years and reviewed the progress on goals set by that Council," explained Mayor Harv Schroeder. "After a year of working on those goals and receiving feedback and requests from the community, it was clear we needed to look to the future now."
Throughout 2023, councilors, administrators and department managers met in what Schroeder described as "many two-to-three-hour meetings" to hammer out those updated priorities. These areas of focus would help guide their decision-making for the next three years. The group also considered community input throughout the process.
"We did an online community engagement survey, that received over 200 responses, to get a broad view of things that are important to our residents," said Schroeder. "We also brought together about 25 people from the community, aiming for a representative demographic, to discuss issues that were important to them in a focus group, giving us a deeper understanding of what was important. So, these steps helped us shape a long-term plan for Altona."
In the end, they came up with four priorities or primary focus areas. The first, Recreation and Culture.
"We have great recreational and cultural assets that exist because of people who came before us and had the vision and dreams to plan for it," explained the Mayor. "Over the past year or a few years, we've had a lot of dreamers come to us with big plans for future recreation and want to make sure we are making the right decisions for the future with the spaces we have available. So, we will use our key strategies to take care of and maintain what we already have and create a long-term plan for upgrading or renewing these assets."
Transportation and infrastructure also made the cut.
"We heard a lot of feedback around those around the roads, sidewalks and trails. So, from that feedback, we heard loud and clear that taking care of our infrastructure that keeps us moving is critical. And our commitment is doing so, and preparing for the future," noted Schroeder.
The group will also keep a focus on economic development for the remainder of the term.
"Creating good economic development growth paves the way for a vibrant and prosperous and resilient community," said Schroeder. "So, we'll use our key strategies to promote and support economic growth, including supporting a skilled worker pool by continuing to attract and support the integration of newcomers into our community, and by preparing for development across all sectors."
Organizational strength was pinpointed as the final priority. Schroeder explained what that means.
"Our team provides many strong essential services to the residents of Altona and ensuring that those services remain excellent means that we need to focus on the strength of the organization. We'll use our key strategies to make sure that operations are well supported and have the appropriate resources available. Being a strong organization also means building strong relationships. We will continue to focus on regional and community collaborations and move forward in a spirit of reconciliation."
As mentioned, the group will apply a series of key strategies, also developed during this planning process, in order to advance these priorities. Those strategies are making fiscally responsible decisions, practicing good environmental stewardship, and preparing for sustainable growth.
"We are setting deadlines and target goals on our plan to implement these strategies, and working to make sure our team are all on the same page," added Schroeder. "We'll also make sure that the community is up to date on our progress and these initiatives, including regular updates that will be provided through Council meetings, our website and through our other communication channels. You can expect to hear me talking about these strategies and goals on In the Mayor's Chair (which airs on CFAM Radio 950) next year."