The District of Stewart officially has a strategic plan for 2021/22.
Stewart council voted to adopt the plan, which identifies six strategic focus areas, during its Nov. 9 regular council meeting. The purpose of the plan is to provide direction to staff on council’s priorities and goals for the upcoming year. As time passes, staff will provide updates to council and the public on progress.
“We believe that by following this approach, we can support responsible growth in our community with increased opportunities for local employment, public safety, and a thriving and active local culture,” wrote Mayor Gina McKay in the plan’s introduction.
At its beginning, the plan lays out council’s 20-year vision for Stewart — a healthy and vibrant small community with a permanant population of 1000 to 2000 people, with industry and tourism driving the local economy.
While the plan identifies a vision for two-decades in the future, its focus six strategic areas to focus on next year, each with priority actions and goals:
1. Safe community
As part of the safe community focus, the District of Stewart plans to join B.C.’s eight existing “Bear Smart” communities which requires certification by the province. Also, the district would like to develop a traffic safety strategy to deal with a proposed increase in industrial traffic and work with the RCMP to set policing priorities. Other actions include enhancing the Fire Master Plan and improving the district’s Emergency Management Program.
2. Secure finances, assets and infrastructure
Regarding finances, council indicated that it would like to review building permit and business licencing programs, inspect district buildings and develop engineering long-term master plans for infrastructure. Lastly, the district plans to develop a financial sustainability program to make sure there are contingency fiunds available in case of unforeseen circumstances.
3. Bold economic development
The Stewart 2021 plan says that the tax base is too dependent on the residential sector, and that too many people travel outside of Stewart daily for work. To rectify these issues, council supports preparing an Industrial Land and Economic Development Strategy and improving the long-term viability of Stewart’s aerodrome. It also placed priority on implementing the Tourism Strategy and Operational Plan with the goal of attracting and retaining businesses.
4. Livable complete community
The District expects to grow in the next few decades and possibly even quadruple its population. The plan sattes that “the District shall diversify the type of ammenities and increase the number of recreational opportunities to support an enhanced lifestyle and community.” That would mean expanding recreation space, establishing a recreation and parks de
5. Engaged community
The District of Stewart plans to engage with citizens in non-traditional and creative ways. Some priority actions in this category are establishing an events committee, social media policy, communications policy and supporting community groups with service agreements.
6. Organizational excellence
Stewart’s plan states that it will strive to be a leader in the way it conducts business and interacts with residents and businesses. That includes strengthening performace measures, strengthening organizational culture and enabling staff with all the tools they need.