Strategic plan is on line - it sets out what city council believes is best for everyone - get to know the document well - we are going to have to live with it.

element_strategic_planBy Pepper Parr

April 12, 2016


The full detailed report is now on line – it’s a vital document – now all the city has to do is deliver on it.

Link to the document is at:

During council member comments last night Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster said “the public reads the Strategic Plan. When the 2011 Strategic Plan was released it didn’t take long for people to go through the document and remind members of council what it was they had committed to getting done.”

Strat Plan meeting part of crowd

Members of city council, senior staff plus people from the Region took part in a process that lasted a full year.

The 2011 plan wasn’t anywhere near as detailed as the 2015-2040. The deliverables are significant and at this point in time no one is really clear on how this is going to get accomplished.

Joan Ford, city treasurer and her team will be going through the document with a fine tooth comb and beginning to attach numbers to the deliverables. The results of that analysis will get put in front of the leadership team and collectively they will attempt to determine what can be done within a very very tight financial situation.
Burlington is looking at between 3% and 4% tax increases for the next 20 years – and that is just to pay for what is on the table now.

While staff are working on the document and the ramifications that will come out of it, the city intends to put the keep the document live in real time so that on any given day any citizen can log in and see where things stand – what has been done – what has been changed.

That kind of document maintenance in real time is a challenge to say the least – the proof will be in the pudding.

What has become evident is that City Manager Ridge tends to over reach – sets out possibilities and may not really be in touch with the realities of doing business day to day.

Strat plan other part of room

From the left – the two KPMG consultants, EDC executive director Frank McKeown, Councillor Paul Sharman, planner xxx and Councillor Blair Lancaster taking part in one of the Strategic Plan workshops at Lasalle Park

What has to be appreciated is that Ridge has never been a city manager before; never been the man behind the desk where the buck stops.

It is going to be interesting to see how Ridge steers his staff and then manages to feed city council the information it needs to make decisions.

Councillor Taylor said this was his 9th Strategic Plan and that it was the best he has ever seen and added that it has not been costed out yet. He added as well that he could see a lot of cherry picking going on in the minds of his fellow councillors.

Taylor pointed to a major expense waiting to land on the council table – the cost of storm water management. If you are patient enough you will see a new tax initiative appear on your tax bill – no one knows what climate change is going to do to us – we do know by now that weather is changing – and that there are quite likely to be very damaging storms – the deluge in 2014 was a massive financial hit to the city. The best way to combat what appear to be inevitable is to create a tax levy that will produce a reserve to handle future costs.

JC Bourque + Ridge + Dwyer

J.C. Bourne of KPMG with City Manager James Ridge and Michelle Dwyer at the last meeting of the team that put together the final draft of the Strategic Plan

Save media that mattersMichelle Dwyer who was given credit on numerous occasions during the late stages of getting the Strategic Plan into its final form, will now oversee the implementation of the plan. She intends to make extensive use of City Talk – the magazine the city publishes on a fairly regular basis.

Problem with that communication channel is that few people actually read the magazine.

Dwyer has done some superb work – there appears to be a change in her job responsibilities in the works. Stay tuned.

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