Nanaimo council signed off on a strategic update Monday, but with some assurance priorities absent from the list aren’t forgotten or off the table.
Nanaimo city council approved its strategic update on Monday, including top project priorities of Beban Park facility redevelopment and a sports and entertainment centre.
Several changes were made to the document in the wake of an e-town hall meeting last month, such as inclusion of food security as one focus of a poverty reduction study and providing necessary space to facility development of recreation, sport and culture. Priority capital projects and initiatives, like the sport and entertainment centre, were not changed.
A city press release shows priorities were shortlisted from a list of 46 possibilities and at least two councillors offered assurance about projects that didn’t make the cut.
Coun. Wendy Pratt said although city council has picked priorities it doesn’t mean other things on the list are gone from their consciousness; they are not forgotten and council will get to them at some time or another.
Coun. Bill Bestwick said he wants the community know “anything that isn’t in our priorities of five if you will … doesn’t mean that they are off the table in entirety or that we won’t look at other options or opportunities as they present themselves, or as they’ve already presented themselves,” he said. “Things may move up and down the scale.”
The city held an e-town hall meeting in late July on its strategic update, which saw 150 questions and comments and led to several revisions, according to a city press release.
Coun. Jerry Hong thanked the public, during an open meeting Monday, and said through public input, “we’ve added the stuff we’ve missed, for example food security.” Coun. Gord Fuller said he was a bit disappointed the auditorium wasn’t packed to the hilt at the e-town hall but also said there’s really good feedback from the event and questionnaires.
“I am looking forward to moving forward with some of these and seeing where they go and if they don’t go, what we can bring in their place,” he said.
The city reports as a next step, staff will develop budget alignment strategies and accountability mechanisms as part of next year’s budget cycle to make sure there’s adequate resources and follow-through on the priorities, projects and initiatives in the plan.