Council ready for Penetanguishene input on upcoming strategic plan

If Penetanguishene council has their hands on the wheel, they’re asking residents to put a map in front of them for the next four years with destinations to stop along the way.

At the recent regular meeting of council, the second phase of the town’s community based strategic plan project was introduced to the public with corporate services executive assistant Kelly Cole explaining what’s ahead.

“We’ve started with a kickoff meeting with (McSweeney & Associates Consulting Inc.) and they’ve come back to us with a project plan,” said Cole, “which is the consultation phase starting off with a survey that they have drafted and will be coming out. So you’ll be seeing that shortly – later this week or early next week, for the public to provide feedback and comments.”

A municipal strategic plan is used to determine key values and principles in guiding direction and decision making, while recommending actions for the achievement of strategic priorities and goals.

Several consultation processes have been selected for the project: stakeholder interviews, focus group meetings, and working sessions; also included will be a public survey.

Last year, an apathetic response of just 70 residents on a public survey to guide the 2023 budget raised an outcry from members of the community who were surprised that more of the approximate 10,000 population weren’t involved. Town council and staff quickly set up further public engagement and meetings to let the town have their say, resulting in a large public attendance.

In addition to the upcoming public survey for the community based strategic plan, two open houses have been scheduled for residents who wish to attend: March 29 at town hall from 6 to 7 p.m., and April 18 at the Brian Orser Hall from 6 to 7 p.m.

“These are all opportunities for the public to come out, provide feedback, comments, and this will all go back to the consultants who will then come back to council with a draft strategic plan,” said Cole.

Mayor Doug Rawson shared Cole’s excitement over the project and the public engagement.

“Where are we going? What do we want to achieve as a municipality?,” asked Rawson. “One thing that’s really resonated with everyone is that we need the community to participate.

“Coun. (George) Vadeboncoeur and I served on the RFP (request for proposal) selection committee, so we’ve brought that forward to continue the work with the steering committee. Every member of council will be participating in this process; we want everybody to be part of the process,” added Rawson.

The community based strategic plan, including further information on the project timeline and targets, can be located on the agenda page of the Town of Penetanguishene website.

Meetings of Penetanguishene council are held on the second Wednesday of each month, and can be watched live on Rogers TV cable 53, or on the Rogers TV website.

Archives of council meetings are located on the Town of Penetanguishene YouTube channel.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,