Ambition, progress, co-operation, strategic planning.
The new year will be a busy one to ensure community sustainability in the future for its residents for Spallumcheen council.
“We are committed to addressing long outstanding issues, dealing with current challenges and planning for the future,” said Mayor Janice Brown, who envisions a busy year with a number of projects to complete that have already commenced; with a strategic vision for the future to be presented and priorities confirmed; and a number of new initiatives already under way.
One of the big changes will be the hiring of a new chief administrative officer to replace Greg Betts.
The new CAO will work collaboratively and co-operatively through a transition with council and Betts to advance many projects already begun.
Betts will remain as a consultant.
“He was much busier than I think he expected, but Greg gave us such great direction,” said Brown.
Council’s strategic vision and priorities for the future and 2014 will be outlined in phase two of the township’s community development plan, which is to be considered early in the new year.
The plan is a key policy document which is the foundation for the township’s first strategic long-term plan, and provides guidance and police development on key community and municipal issues.
“This plan is focused on long-term sustainability of the community, giving consideration to community values,” said Brown.
Notable initiatives that commenced in 2013 and remain part of the future include the implementation of a long-term water strategy, where the township reached a memorandum of understanding with the City of Armstrong.
Spallumcheen continues to negotiate with Greater Vernon Water for expansion of service to provide capacity for industrial developments in the southern part of the township.
The introduction of development cost charges for roads is being sent to the province for its review before a public stakeholders meeting will be held in late January.
A fire service review, completion of a road network plan, and the Fortune Creek Drainage and Diking District assessment are all on the schedule for 2014.
Topping the list of new initiatives that council will consider in 2014 is the development of an industrial business retention and attraction action plan, and a comprehensive submission to the Agricultural Land Commission that will feature a series of policies that continues to support farming.
The ALC tends to draw a lot of opinion at the council table and Brown, completing her first term as mayor, enjoys listening to the variety of ideas stated by her council.
“I think you need people that don’t always go with the flow, have their opinions and don’t waiver from those opinions,” said Brown. “We agree to disagree and we respect each other’s view.”
Brown’s first term as mayor ends in November 2014, and she has already decided to seek a second term.
“I think I’ve just begun,” said Brown. “I’ve been getting lots of positive feedback and support from the community, council and staff. “Because we’re working so hard and achieving things, it’s like an ‘a-ha’ moment, that this is why I do what I do.
“We all value our municipality, and we’re going to continue to work to make it the best place to live.”