Addressing climate change, enhancing the downtown, marketing the community and supporting agri-food processing companies are some new initiatives city administration will pursue as part of an updated strategic plan.
City council and members of city hall’s strategic leadership team met with author and motivational speaker Doug Griffiths on March 3 during a strategic planning session to update, revise and “fine-tune” the plan’s objectives, an April 12 council report explained. Council reviewed the 2021 updated strategic plan while lauding the 2018 plan and the progress made on those initiatives.
City administration and council want to continue with the direction, projects and progress that have been implemented, the report continued. They also want to add to the plan and include priorities they believe are important to tell Moose Jaw’s story.
“Moose Jaw continues to display the qualities that will put it at the forefront of community innovations in an ever-changing world,” Griffiths wrote in his summary notes. “We encourage you to continue to bold and to aggressively pursue our recommendations, so current and future opportunities are not missed … .
“We know that you are notorious for never growing complacent. Keep that up. Stay vigilant so we may continue to hold you up as an icon of what leaders in leading communities are doing.”
Griffiths’ comments are appreciated since city staff work hard and don’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel, city manager Jim Puffalt said during the April 12 council meeting. City administration has accomplished much through the strategic plan since 2018 and is not willing to “sit back and rest on our laurels.”
The new initiatives in the strategic plan are:
- Creating a climate action plan
- Developing a downtown enhancement plan focused on heritage and history
- Marketing Moose Jaw as being connected and in the middle of everywhere, and hiring a firm or person to promote this
- Using more videos and analytics to produce positive community stories
- Designing downtown offices and meeting spaces for rent by the day, week, month or year
- Producing a list of companies that fit the vision of the agri-food processing park and proactively approach them
Three main recommendations focus on growth opportunities with marketing and branding; downtown development with housing, socialization, beauty, co-working spaces, and new businesses; and a climate action plan that incorporates agriculture, food production and technology.
This strategic plan is important since it will not become a dusty document sitting on a shelf, said Coun. Crystal Froese. Many initiatives are based on action — making them measurable — and that is important since it helps council move forward and ensures municipal staff know what council’s wishes are.
“That is what is so very different about our strategic plan compared to so many others out there,” she continued. “And Mr. Griffiths pointed that out, and he has held up some of the initiatives that have come from around this table as examples to other communities, which to me proves we’re moving in the right direction.”
It’s great to see this report come forward, agreed Coun. Heather Eby. One item important to her in the report is updating the welcome signs outside the community. She hoped city hall either enhanced them or painted them.
In reply, city administration said the parks and rec department had acquired a quote to upgrade those signs. That project will proceed soon.
Council later voted unanimously to receive and file Puffalt’s report and adopt the updated strategic plan.
The next regular council meeting is Monday, April 26.