n staff inspired by long-term strategy
By Chris Simon Innisfil Scope July 7 2010
Innisfil is thinking ahead, by about 10 to 20 years.
Town council has passed a recommendation that will pave the way for the creation of Inspiring Innisfil — 2020, a strategic plan that will help shape the municipality over the next two decades. The plan, which must be completed by March 31, 2011, will cost about $525,000 to complete — with about $375,000 of that being funded from the Canadian government’s Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.
Inspiring Innisfil would be a compilation of three Alcona subdivision separate but intertwined plans — community strategic, economic development and tourism and culture. Staff would use the plans to develop a vision and longterm goals for the municipality, and set targets for the 2010-2014 council term, said Innisfil Public Library CEO Susan Downs.
“The first task is to scope out the intent and parameters of the three studies and finalize the approach through the development of a direction document that sets out the background, intent, goals, approach, priorities, timelines and results expected from this crucial process,” she said. “The work on this project needs to commence immediately, as the targeted completion date is driven by … the need for council to be informed early in its term … and funding from the senior level is tied to a timeframe.”
Downs will be assigned the role of Director of Strategic Planning until October 31, 2011, to help manage the plan’s development, while Woodburn Life Balance’s Bob Woodburn will become master consultant over the project.
“There is an expectation that the final product will be a blending of the work of the consultants. The coordination of these experts will be critical to the development of a useful document that delivers the required results,” said Downs. “Woodburn has led a number of community strategic planning initiatives and his expertise will be invaluable in leading and coordinating the town’s objectives in this exercise. We are counting on his experience to provide guidance … and support the coordination of this project.”
As part of the strategy, residents, community organization representatives and advisory groups will be asked for input.
The tourism plan will centre on key areas of the municipality, like the Big Bay Point Resort, Georgian Downs, Cookstown, Lake Simcoe and the Kempenfelt Conference Centre.
“We are clearly at an important crossroads, as a community, in understanding the overall economic significance and potential we have in tourism and culture,” said Downs. “It is vital we become engaged in defining the opportunities. The plan would map the existing venues, explore the concept of culture as an economic driver and provide direction as to how opportunities can be effectively developed.”
Meanwhile, the community strategic and economic development strategies will investigate ways the municipality can retain existing businesses, while attracting new ones. It will provide guidelines for creating jobs and strategic employment areas, and potentially help develop a marketing and branding strategy.
“The important factor for the town is to ensure that the final product is a clear, coordinated document that will fulfill the needs of the town (and) community for the foreseeable future,” said Downs. “We will be seeking the development of priorities related to the revitalization of core business districts.”