The City of Merritt shaped its trajectory for the next two years at the latest council meeting on Nov. 28.
The strategic plan, which includes the years from 2024 to 2026, reflects the city’s commitment to forward-thinking policies and pragmatic solutions.
According to a city staff report, the strategic plan is often very ambitious and its goals may not be fully met within the timeframe expected.
“In practice, such a plan may have goals or outcomes that are carried over into the next planning cycle,” the report reads. “Nonetheless, the strategic plan is an essential tool to providing big picture direction for the duration of the plan.”
Also according to the report, the strategic goals for the 2024-2026 plan were identified across the eight official community plan domains, from land use and development and economy, to relationships with neighbouring Indigenous communities and safety and resiliency.
Within “Land Use and Development”, the City aims to develop a housing strategy that could increase Merritt’s housing capacity. Additionally, some outdated bylaws and policies will be updated to ensure increases in housing development and attraction of new businesses, making it timely with the new provincial legislation that will impact housing density and development requirements.
As for the second goal, “Our Neighbourhoods”, the City aims to keep developing neighbourhoods that are attractive to the community, focusing especially in the downtown area. Another goal, which aligns with “Our Neighbourhoods” is “Our Economy” in which the City will develop a strategy to identify priorities and gaps in information on economic development efforts and organizations.
Within “Our Relationships”, the City hopes to build a trusting and collaborative relationship with neighbouring Indigenous communities, as well as ensure a transparent sharing of information with all the residents.
The City will also focus on “Our Recreation, Parks and Culture” domain, in which the goal is to identify objectives and goals that have been met and determine next steps for implementation of the remaining objectives and goals that aims to create healthy communities where people will be able to recreate, gather and give back to the community.
As for the last two goals, “Our Environment” and “Our Safety and Resiliency”, which are closely related, the City aims to develop a climate change adaptation and mitigation plan to identify where they can lessen the carbon footprint and mitigate known risks.
Their focus will also be directed on two key stressors within the community, the healthcare shortages and the development of emergency response plans.
“Mayor and council can continue to keep the communities’ needs for stable emergency care services in the eye of the provincial government, the public and the media,” the report reads.
As for flood recovery and mitigation projects, the report says that the intention was to separate “regular” work from the “recovery” work, which is why it isn’t included in the Strategic Plan.
“The City has a strong flood recovery team that is working to secure funding for the various projects and develop specific timelines for completion, but given all the external factors at play, there is much less certainty in the processes,” the report reads.
Coun. Wendy Charney said during the council meeting that she appreciates all the work that has gone into it, especially the format.
“I think it’s easy to read and understand. It’s not a paragraph after a paragraph, it’s to the point and easy to follow,” she said.
At the end of the presentation, the council approved the 2024-2026 Strategic Plan that was proposed.