Strategic plan not destined for the shelf

 

The Township of South Dundas moved forward with the action planning phase of their community strategic plan on May 30th at Matilda Hall in Dixon’s Corners.

The South Dundas public was invited to participate in creating action plans based on the six key themes originally identified by the public during the community cafés held in March.

The six themes were:

• Implement beautification projects to strengthen our sense of pride and community;

• Strengthen South Dundas’ agricultural sector through partnerships with the tourism industry;

• Sustain South Dundas’ small town lifestyle through appropriate development;

• Support business expansion and job creation;

• Create a municipal identity that will celebrate South Dundas’ rich history and culture; and,

• Create recreational programs,  opportunities and facilities that will attract and retain families, children and youth.

Turnout for the action planning meetings was small, with approximately six people for the afternoon sessions and 10 for the evening sessions.

“I was certainly hoping for more people,” said South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds. 

“Hopefully, there’s a few others that will put some things online,” he continued, referring to the dedicated email address for strategic plan ideas (csp@southdundas.com). “There’s always an opportunity to send comments in.”

According to Sari Liem of Dillon Consulting, the firm hired to develop the plan, the idea behind the action planning is to “turn wishes into strategic direction.”

During the Community Cafés, public participants made wishes for the township. Liem explained, “we’re going through the wishes and building upon them, turning them into goals.” She referred to this as “informed direction.”

“We’re fleshing out specific actions,” she said. “This is all meant to be building blocks.”

The specific actions, once identified, were then put into a time frame of short term (0 to 2 years), mid term (3 to 5 years), and long term (6 to 10 years), with an emphasis on short term.  

Each of the six action planning groups followed this process when developing their plans. 

In addition to creating action plans, each group identified possible partnerships and alliances that might be pursued in making the actions a reality. 

Liem explained that the community strategic plan is a ‘living’ document, meaning that it is fluid and open to change at any time.

Reminded of past strategic plans and the failures to follow through on those plans, Byvelds emphasized that “we’re committed to at least trying our best to make this strategic plan work. It’s not going to sit on a shelf.”

Armed with the public’s ideas, Dillon Consulting will create a recommended vision statement for South Dundas. In addition to this, an implementation strategy, complete with a time line for action, will be provided.

When ready, Dillon Consulting will present the final report to council for approval and, following council’s approval, it will then be released to the public.

South Dundas economic development officer Nicole Sullivan pointed out that “we’re not doing this because we have a problem, we’re doing this to be proactive and plan for the future.”

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