South Algonquin Township approved their new Strategic Plan with final revisions at their Jan. 10 council meeting, after minor revisions were pointed out that needed to be addressed at their December meeting. This plan will cover the 2023–2027-time frame, and was facilitated by Municipal Government Wayfinders’ Michael Wildman and David Reid. Mayor Ethel LaValley and Bryan Martin, the CAO, comment on this new Strategic Plan which will serve the township over the next several years.

South Algonquin Township began the process of enacting a new Strategic Plan in August, 2023, choosing Municipal Government Wayfinders to help facilitate the process. Consultations and interviews occurred with council and staff and a citizen’s survey was sent out with over 100 responses received back. These consultations yielded six key priorities; asset management, master planning, human resources, finance, service delivery and housing and employment. Housing and Employment was recognized as the most pressing key priority in the plan.

A Strategic Plan is a community’s roadmap and is utilized to prioritize initiatives, resources, goals and department operations and projects. It’s a big picture document that funnels efforts and resources toward a clearly defined vision. In South Algonquin’s new Strategic Plan, their mission is to deliver affordable, efficient and reliable core services to the community. Their vision is their aspiration to be a safe, thriving and vibrant community where all people will want to live, work, visit and invest. Their core values are integrity and respect, teamwork, accountability and transparency, fiscal responsibility and sustainability and innovation.

For their first key priority, asset management, the strategic goal for the township is to reduce the infrastructure funding deficit and expand the use of effective strategies and innovate tools to manage long-term infrastructure needs. To this end, they intend to repair paved surfaces within the township, implement drainage improvements and convert culverts to HDP and ditching, and implement a rolling re-gravel program. They also aim to replace the 1996 Whitney pumper, the 1998 Madawaska mini-pumper and to renovate the Whitney Fire Hall.

For master planning, the strategic goal is to identify long-term goals through consultation and analysis and to develop a sustainable, planned approach to goal achievement. To this end, they plan to finalize the update to the comprehensive zoning bylaw, regulate long-term monitoring and planning of landfill sites for expansion and closure, adopt a vehicles and equipment replacement plan, form strategic partnerships with Algonquin Park, the business community, the Algonquins, mills, local schools, etc. to achieve mutual goals. They also intend to track service requests, leveraging date to improve service delivery, report annually on master plans and strategies, and develop a strategy to increase high speed Internet and cell service.

For human resources, the strategic goal is to take the best care of employees and to ensure the best fit between employers and jobs while avoiding manpower shortages or surpluses. To this end, they’ll be implementing a professional development program for council and staff, develop a recruitment strategy to recruit young firefighters, implement a succession strategy, undertake an organizational review performed by a service delivery review, and fill the vacant deputy clerk position permanently after an organizational review.

For finance, the strategic goal is to develop strategies to achieve long-term financial sustainability as they deliver high quality core services. To this end, they intend to an asset management financial plan with the annual budget, implement a 10 year long range capital forecast harmonized with other master plans, adopt a pay as you go strategy to increase reserves, adopt a budget approval timeline to approve it by February, and adopt a grant monitoring and acquisition strategy policy. They also aim to separate operating and capital budgets, develop a corporate strategy to fully implement new financial software, finalize the asset management plan to meet 2025 statutory requirements, and prepare a staff report outlining the merits and drawbacks of implementing multi-year budgets.

For service delivery, the strategic goal is to implement strategies, policies, and programs designed to enhance the delivery of core township services. To that end, they’ll conduct a service delivery review to ensure core services are delivered efficiently as well as do an Org review so they’re properly resourced, develop an internal and external communications strategy in conjunction with a “Roadmap to Services,” develop a “Roadmap to Services” to clearly communicate how residents can access services, and conduct a pilot program to test the efficiency of a “Committee of the Whole” governance model. They will also review the Establishing and Regulating bylaw, investigate and pursue the recycling transition as per the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016, consider options for garbage collection service levels, consult with recreation committees to coordinate services and consider ways to offer more township support, and investigate ways to increase the capacity of boat launches.

For their last key priority, housing and employment, the strategic goal is to carefully adopt new plans and policies that will help attract new housing and employment opportunities that are the best fit for all township residents. To this end, they’ll implement a local housing strategy including review of opportunities to increase available lots, more homes, based on the Nipissing strategy, develop a temporary housing strategy for migrant workers, coordinated with the local housing strategy, identify and implement tools to assist with housing and economic development strategies in conjunction with an SDR, and transition from the long-term care arrangement. They will also develop a seniors at home plan, identify short-term accommodation options for EMS, implement an economic development and tourism strategy tailored for South Algonquin, and identify opportunities with the lumber industry such as furniture, fibre and cogenation. The township’s new Strategic Plan can be found on their website at

Mayor LaValley told The Bancroft Times on Feb. 8 that she was pleased with the service from Municipal Government Wayfinders and was also pleased with the direction of the new Strategic Plan.

On Feb. 8, Martin told The Bancroft Times that council was satisfied with the work undertaken by the consulting firm as well as the outcomes accomplished in the plan.
“[We] look forward to implementing the plan during the balance of their term in office.”

By Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Feb 17, 2024 at 18:18

This item reprinted with permission from   The Bancroft Times   Bancroft, Ontario
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