The District of Squamish council sat down this week to start forging its high-level wish list for the next four years.
Broken into environmental, social, cultural and economic sustainability, council picked apart its objects for each year until 2016 — a process the district’s chief administrative officer, Corien Speaker, suspects will take multiple meetings. The draft 2013 Strategic Plan is hefty, she told committee of the whole on Tuesday (Nov. 13).
“We are not going to be able to do it all,” she warned officials.
Municipal staff asked council to prioritize the items, which will aid council in 2013 budget process. Once officials understand council’s work plan for next year, staff can figure out the schedule’s financial implications, Speaker said.
“Budget is going to drive the decisions of what gets done or what doesn’t get done,” she said, noting that it isn’t feasible to do all 20 actions on the draft.
In a forwarded address to council, Speaker stated some projects will take multiple years to complete, while others may be completed within the year the project is initiated — it all depends on the project’s complexity and funding.
Only 10 per cent of municipal staff’s work time can be dedicated to council’s strategic initiatives, she noted.
“Fifty per cent [of the 2013 draft list] could be completed in the entire year,” Speaker said.
But by the end of the meeting, the workload for next year seemed to grow.
This year, the mayor of Squamish’s Japanese sister city issued an invitation to council to attend Shimizu-town’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2013. Coun. Ron Sander asked for that relationship to be added to the “cultivate partnerships” list.
Coun. Patricia Heintzman had trash on her mind. With yard waste pick-up having expanded to the whole community this month, Heintzman said she wants to see the municipality examine district-wide compost collection. Coun. Susan Chapelle noted the commercial sector should be included in the study.
Chapelle requested that the district’s look into establishing a public Wi-Fi network be moved from the 2015 workload onto next year’s priorities. As technology marches forward, improving local Wi-Fi access needs to be on the forefront of the municipality’s mind, she said.
Heintzman added public art to next year’s priorities. It’s not “rocket science,” she said. For too long, the district has talked about creating a public art policy, but nothing seems to get done, Heintzman said.
Most councillors agreed that a high priority be given to the development of a hazard risk and vulnerability assessment for land use in Squamish. That would create development permits for areas deemed hazardous, with more stringent regulations, Speaker said. Doing so would eliminate issues the district currently faces, such as people building houses on the water side of dikes.
“I think it gives that much more clarity for developers coming to town,” she noted.