EDITORIAL: Strategic plan a crucial step

City hall is planning on being all ears over the next four weeks, listening to ideas that will shape Nanaimo’s future.

City hall is planning on being all ears over the next four weeks, listening to residents, business groups, seniors, teenagers and community groups on issues and ideas that will shape Nanaimo’s future.

It’s an opportunity to be involved and a chance for the public to help build a framework that will one day become Nanaimo’s mission statement.

As it stands now, Nanaimo is at a crossroads, looking for a new direction from its mining, fishing and forestry past. But before our city can look outward for opportunities, it must first take a good, hard look at itself in the mirror.

What are our priorities?

That’s where the new Strategic Planning Steering Committee, along with a consultant that specializes in these kinds of strategies, comes in.

The goal is to establish a few common priorities that council will be able refer to in its decision-making process.

Right now, many special interest groups are emerging, pressuring council to consider its requests to preserve or develop land, provide shelter, fund organizations, increase economic development, and a million other interests that can be found within a municipal border.

It’s not an efficient approach.

By bringing the community together and identifying top issues, council can identify priorities, manage and allocate money accordingly, and provide certainty for people who live, work and play here, as well as for those who want to do business here.

With a clear and precise direction, the community will know where it stands – an important first step before inviting outside interests to take part.

Coincidentally, the Nanaimo school district is undertaking a similar process with similar goals and timelines.

Nanaimo is on the verge of a new identity. How secure and prosperous that identity becomes depends on the participation of people who live here now.

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