GORDON/BARRIE ISLAND—After being presented to council on April 3, the first draft of the Municipality of Gordon/Barrie Island’s 10-year strategic plan is ready for review from the public.
“I think the plan is fairly straight forward and reflective of the sentiments that have been expressed over the last year or two by the public and by council,” stated Laura Barfoot, economic development officer for the municipality and author of the plan. “From what we’ve heard, taxpayers have a common vision for the municipality’s future—move forward in sustainable growth, but preserve the lifestyle we cherish.”
The report notes, “the potential for growth in the Municipality of Gordon/Barrie Island is evident. During analysis sessions and on a subsequent survey sent to property owners in 2011, community members identified several opportunities that exist, along with present and future threats that may put growth at risk.”
“In January 2012, 17 community residents, farmers and business owners attended a strategic planning session to identify priorities for the future of Gordon/Barrie Island and develop a vision statement,” the report states. “The municipality has recognized the importance of assessment for this community and the desire to investigate new opportunities for growth and job creation. The process for developing a cohesive, sustainable strategic plan includes continued input from the community on key issues and a thorough analysis of the social, cultural, and economic needs of this municipality.”
“A strategic plan is the strategy or direction that an organization will take in an ensuring period of time, typically five- or 10-years,” the report continues. “In order to develop a strategic plan, the organization must first determine where they presently stand then determine where it wants to go and how it will get there.”
It was noted municipalities across Canada recognize the importance of strategic plans as a mechanism to implement actions that will lead the municipality towards sustainable growth. The Gordon/Barrie Island strategic plan is a planned initiatives that will guide the municipality towards long-term well-being by identifying the main issues that Gordon/Barrie Island faces over the next 10-years. This includes elements within culture, lifestyle, economy and development. It has been shown that communities are better able to cope with change when a plan is in place.
The vision statement reads, “the municipality of Gordon/Barrie Island puts its people first by ensuring our community is a safe and healthy place to establish roots. We promote sustainable development, active lifestyles and our treasured location off the beaten path.”
“The strategic plan for the municipality of Gordon/Barrie Island highlights five goals that include objectives and action plans to lead the municipality towards sustainable growth over the next 10-years,” adds the report. “Each action plan will be reviewed by council and staff to determine priorities and timelines.”
“The following goals include relevant background information for each objective, which will assist the municipality in achieving long-term strategies. There have been no priorities outlined for these action plans,” continues the plan. “Council and staff will review the objectives and identify priorities and responsibilities. The goals and objectives include: goal 1-economic vitality-to research and explore options to diversify the economy through more business development opportunities; promote, support and encourage existing local businesses and promote and encourage the attraction and retention of additional sustainable businesses.
Another goal under municipal infrastructure states, “to provide clean, safe, protected, accessible and maintained sustainable municipal infrastructure; expand the current tax base for continued growth and sustainability.”
Goal 3 is in the area of culture and recreation-to ensure that residents enjoy a community that fosters social interaction and healthy lifestyles for all ages; further develop Janet Head Lighthouse as a tourist destination and historical site; and develop policies that protect healthy living choices.
The fourth goal focuses on social services and supports: “to ensure that residents have access to local health services that meet their primary needs; encourage the development of affordable and senior housing; and continue to support, recognize and encourage volunteerism of all ages.”
Under the goal of stewardship the plan focuses on, “encouraging the production and consumption of local foods, pursue a viable recycling strategy and continue to protect the land and natural environment of the municipality of Gordon/Barrie Island.”
Ms. Barfoot went on to explain that once approved by council, the strategic plan would be reviewed annually by both council and staff to determine priority objectives and action plans. “Some of the objectives in the plan require annual commitment and some are already recurring priorities, such as maintaining our excellent road infrastructure stretching over 100-kilometres. Others are ‘projects’ to complete that would further our goals of economic diversification and promoting healthy lifestyles, for example, she clarified. “The municipality is growing and has begun some excellent work, so now is the perfect time to move forward in an organized and well-planned way.”
The draft strategic plan is available for viewing at www.gordonbarrieisland.caand printed copies are available at the municipal office. Residents and taxpayers of Gordon/Barrie Island are invited to read the first draft of the strategic plan and submit any comments to Ms. Barfoot by email at edo@
gordonbarrieisland.ca or by calling the municipal office at (705) 282-2702.