The staff and council of Wellesley have begun to ask themselves what they would like their township to look like in the next few years, and are developing a long-term strategic plan to get them there.
Fire chief Andrew Lillico revealed the basic outline of that plan during the last committee meeting held in Crosshill on Nov. 29, and he discussed the purpose and the goals of Wellesley’s strategic plan heading into 2014.
“A strategic plan and strategic objectives will (help) drive your budget and the allocation of your resources,” said Lillico of the benefits of having such a plan.
“In order to determine where an organization is going, it needs to know where it stands and where it wants to go and how it will get there.”
Lillico examined the strategic plans of eight other municipalities in the province when developing Wellesley’s plan, and he said that he decided to use 2014 as his guidepost for this plan because that will mark the final year of the current term of council.
He defined the plan as a flexible strategy where “the past meets the future” of Wellesley Township.
“It’s very important that we highlight the word flexible, because plans change,” he added.
“This is our roadmap for the next four years.”
Over the next six months, senior staff will review possible mission statements to guide the vision of the township, define strategic initiatives that they would like to achieve, such as reducing the environmental impact of their everyday operations, they will look at objectives to go with those initiatives such as replacing all light bulbs with more energy-efficient ones, seek input from the public as to where they would like to see the township headed over the next four years, and finally seek council approval.
The public input portion would likely occur in April, with final council approval coming in June, said Lillico.
The length of planning involved in establishing this strategic plan is important in order to ensure that everyone involved – from staff to the public – are properly consulted and their concerns and opinions are voiced, he said.
Councillors praised the report, in particular the call for public consultation.
“I like that idea of trying to get the public to buy into this and into the process,” said Coun. Herb Neher.
“One of the biggest problems is that people are not fully aware of how their money is spent.
They complain that their taxes are going up by two or three per cent, but they really don’t have an understanding.”
Mayor Ross Kelterborn did have some concerns about how the strategic plan fit into the 2012 budget process, and while Lillico did admit it was a little late in the year to begin such a procedure, he added that one of the benefits of having such a long-term plan is if something doesn’t fit into the budget for 2012, it can be moved ahead and adjusted for in the next budget because of the flexibility the plan permits.
Rather than a hard and fast set of rules, it is more of a guide as to where council and the township want to be heading, Lillco said.
“Council shouldn’t be frustrated if we don’t achieve a goal, just ask why? We can then adjust for it the next year and move on with it.”