Actioning our priorities

Robust community engagement

At all levels, public discourse between and among citizens, elected bodies and institutions is undergoing radical change. Social media and other tools have broadened access to information and opinion, with both positive and negative results.

The 2018 election campaign provided recent and very direct engagement between candidates elected to office and the community, and led to the conclusion, for some, that community trust in Council’s decision-making processes had eroded and needs to be restored.

Community expectations and preferences for ongoing engagement need to be better understood outside of the election context and continually refreshed as needs and tools evolve. New tools and analytics are available which can enhance engagement, dialogue and informed decision making.

What we want to achieve

We are determined to create an environment of trust and a habit of engagement during our term of office.

This starts with understanding how the community wishes to participate and be heard in decision making and then providing those channels for input and communication. It means demonstrating how and why decisions were made and acknowledging the impacts of these decisions.

There is an opportunity for deep engagement with the community on fundamental questions of community identity and livability. At the same time, we can employ tools and practices to make quick and inclusive check-ins on current topics a habit.

The actions we are going to take

We have provided a mandate to the organization to broaden engagement, to focus on approaches that are convenient for our citizens, to be proactive and consistent in in our language and materials and to always be clear in the commitment we are making with each engagement.

To achieve our desired outcomes, the Corporate Plan includes initial actions such as:

  • Establishing a baseline on community issues, needs and preferences through a statistically representative survey
  • Identifying engagement topics most critical to the community
  • Continuing to employ and develop online tools for engaging with the community
  • Further developing and employing data collection tools to inform decision making and improve reporting

Official Community Plan Review Project

An Official Community Plan (OCP) expresses a community’s vision of its long term future and provides a plan for how to achieve that future, through land use, social, environmental, economic, transportation and other policies. The District’s OCP, like others, is also an Integrated Sustainable Community Plan. It balances the interests of current residents and of people who will be the community of the future, as well as local and regional perspectives.

Given this scope and planning horizon, it is to be expected that periodic review of progress and effectiveness is required, particularly in a period of significant change.

Reflecting input heard over the course of the last municipal election campaign and elsewhere, there is a perceived level of frustration with construction activity and traffic congestion and a sense of 'development fatigue' within the community. There are questions as to whether, or to what extent, these impacts relate to implementation of the OCP itself, and what role factors such as single family construction activity, regional projects and shifting commuting patterns may play in contributing to the community’s experience.

Deeper understanding and awareness of changes underway and on the horizon are pre-requisites to further discussions with the community about prioritizing elements of the OCP.

What we want to achieve

We want to affirm community support for the OCP and determine what goals should be prioritized and how they might be achieved.

Outcomes related to this broad aspiration include:

  • ensuring the community is aware of OCP-related projects already approved and underway
  • engaging with the community on key OCP topics
  • a determination of whether OCP amendments are required to keep it relevant and to develop, implement and report on action plans that advance OCP goals

The actions we are going to take

Early in 2019, we will determine the scope and timeline of the OCP study. Priority actions in the Corporate Plan will include:

  • Development of white papers regarding specific strategic areas of the OCP, as determined by Council, which consider historic impacts, new pressures, emerging priorities and the interdependence of issues
  • Conducting a statistically relevant and demographically representative survey of residents to augment the white paper analysis
  • Development of action plans, and OCP amendments as necessary, to advance priorities determined through the review

Working collaboratively and strengthening relationships

The toughest challenges facing communities at any scale — climate change, transportation, affordability, economic and social issues — cannot be tackled by any one entity acting alone. There is growing recognition that these and other challenges require collaboration between governments at all levels, the not-for-profit sector, private sector and community-based organizations.

The mechanisms required to advance solutions can be complex as multiple, sometimes competing, interests are at play. Building and sustaining relationships across operational and political lines for the long term, and actively collaborating on initiatives of shared interest, increases chances for innovative solutions, funding and broader positive benefit for the community.

What we want to achieve

We are ready to lead with a 'North Shore perspective' to achieve transportation, economic and service goals for the whole of the North Shore region. We want to build and strengthen relationships with Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish Nations to move beyond development servicing, single-issue and transactional approaches of the past.

The actions we are going to take

The Corporate Plan will translate our perspectives to the operational level with priority actions such as:

  • Continuing work to implement various INSTPP recommendations and other shared priorities through a collaborative structure that includes all levels of government on the North Shore, TransLink and the Port
  • Working with all North Shore partners and through NSEM to create a North Shore wide resiliency strategy that addresses natural hazard and climate adaptation strategies
  • Identifying specific actions and initiatives that strengthen the relationships between Councils and staff of the District, Squamish and Tsleil- Waututh Nations and help achieve shared community goals

Focus on our customers

Council and all members of the District organization share a passion for serving people and this community. The needs and expectations of the community are diverse and continue to evolve.

The District provides such essential services as parks, water and waste collection, that meet peoples’ daily needs and impact their quality of life ‘closest to home.’

What we want to achieve

We want to attain a clear and current understanding of service expectations across all segments of the community, including implications for community livability.

Making communication and transactions with the District easy for citizens and businesses is a key goal. Providing excellent service to all customers is of utmost importance to us, as individual expectations and broad community needs are balanced.

The actions we are going to take

We are prioritizing engagement to understand the needs and expectations of the community, along with actions to enable the service options and communication channels preferred by residents and businesses.

As such the Corporate Plan will include these priorities for staff to focus on:

  • Conducting a statistically representative survey of all District citizens to identify service priorities, satisfaction and preferences for interacting with the District
  • Implementing of a digital strategy to transform online services, engagement and information aligned with residents’ needs and preferences
  • Providing staff with training and tools that will enhance skills needed to continually improve customer experiences

Organizational resilience

Financial sustainability is critical to the community’s vision for a healthy future. The District has long followed financial management best practices and is a leader in municipal asset management, but as demands and obligations on local governments increase, maintaining a comprehensive, responsive long term financial plan is vital.

As customers’ expectations continue to evolve, our skills, technologies and practices must as well. The District must support the talent needed to lead and respond to change.

Employees who see the connection between their work and the community’s goals are most likely to experience a rewarding work life and deliver outstanding service. Fostering a healthy and dynamic workplace is a key success factor in a changing environment

What we want to achieve

We are committed to our role as financial stewards for the District and as leaders who create the conditions that allow employees to do their best work.

A key outcome of our term will be to adapt the long term financial plan to act on our priority directions while ensuring financial resilience. Part of this will be to work towards taxation fairness, particularly with regard to industrial port properties.

Another element will be to determine how District land and revenues will be used to promote greater affordability. Our clear direction will serve as a foundation for program and resource planning for the entire organization.

The actions we are going to take

Within our term, we will make decisions about the use of District land to achieve housing diversity and affordability and consider the role of other mechanisms, such as community amenity and other development revenue in that pursuit.

Committing to specific priorities now will allow staff to align their work to strategic purposes and to meet the community’s needs with confidence, professionalism and accountability.

To support our leadership in setting strategic direction, the Corporate Plan will include actions such as:

  • Refining the long term financial plan to align with strategic priorities and changing conditions
  • Reviewing the role and impact of Community Amenity Contributions in our funding models
  • Advocating for equity in Metro Vancouver, TransLink and Provincial funding models
  • Updating succession and training strategies
  • Enhancing internal communications and engagement practices