Silly season (aka election time) for BC municipalities is around the corner, which can sometimes mean a suspension of new planning and engagement work as the focus shifts to campaigning and the election. While for some it might not be the time to initiate new planning projects, the year can (and should) still be used to set the stage for a very productive post-election period with whomever ends up as Mayor and Council.
Here are some things to focus on in 2022 to successfully complete the current term and to set the new (or returning) Mayor and Council up for success:
- Review, measure and reflect – Check on progress made (and not made) related to community goals and key initiatives as reflected in your strategic or corporate plan and your performance monitoring program. Identify what’s critical to achieve before the end of the term.
- Accelerate progress on those key initiatives that you’ve already committed to and that are critical for community success. Consider accelerating action on pressing issues such as: climate mitigation and adaptation; wildfire management planning; reconciliation and diversity, equity, and inclusion; and asset management planning (including natural asset integration).
- Budget for a robust strategic planning process to set the new Council up for success and include a community engagement element (more below) and the development of a code of conduct* in the process.
- Engage the community in setting priorities – Your review of past performance and progress can inform and lead into a community conversation about what’s next, including what the priorities should be for the next few years. In addition to current community-wide plans, this information will help to guide the new Council as they launch into the strategic planning process after the election.
More and more BC communities are developing strategic plans to set clear, shared direction for each Council term. The District of Tofino is a great example of this practice, and they do mid-term check-ins and annual reviews of the priorities and key initiatives set out in the plan. Strategic plans and community priorities ground everyone (including Mayoral and Council candidates) in already established and shared direction that is strategic – which is a whole lot better than silly.
Contact Shannon Gordon at sgordon [AT] whistlercentre.ca or 604-906-0310 to learn more.
*Legislative amendments made recently to the Community Charter, Vancouver Charter and Local Government Act require local governments to consider adopting or updating a Code of Conduct within 6 months after their first regular council or regional district board meeting. More about developing a Council Code of Conduct to come in our next newsletter.