The Town of Crossfield is hosting two open houses in the coming weeks to garner community feedback from residents and local business owners, as the municipality prepares to formalize its strategic plan for the next four years.
The “town hall” style sessions, featuring presentations from Chief Administrative Officer Sue Keenan and Mayor Kim Harris followed by a question period, will be held on April 20 and May 4 at 6 p.m. at the Town office located at 1005 Ross Street.
According to Keenan, the strategic plan provides council and administration guidance in the decision-making process and to direct the Town’s resources appropriately in the next term.
“In keeping with that theme, it’s really important when you’re setting a strategic plan, that you welcome and invite members, residents of the community, as well as the business community,” she said.
She added council and staff have been working to develop the Crossfield Strategic Plan 2022-26 over the last several months, and during this process, developed a new mission and vision statement to guide municipal initiatives.
Keenan said the newly elected council wants to be transparent and accountable to its residents and is looking for community engagement before they give the final seal of approval to the plan.
“[They] thought this would be a great way to start that process of getting some feedback from our folks with regards to some of the things that they’re thinking of focusing on over the next four years,” she said.
She added the focus of the open houses will be all three areas of Crossfield's strategic plan, including priorities, objectives, and an action plan.
“[The action plan] is really the mandate for a senior administration to drive results for council,” Keenan explained.
Following each section, there will be an opportunity for attendees to voice questions or concerns, according to Keenan, and also provide ideas or solutions for achieving the action plan items.
“It will be in person, which is kind of nice,” she said. “We’re quite looking forward to it and we really do hope we have a good turnout.”
According to Mayor Harris, both the Town of Crossfield administration team and council members want to involve Crossfieldians in an open dialogue to increase engagement on important matters.
“I feel it’s a priority to host engagements around the strategic plan to have a common vision that council, administration, businesses, and residents can work together towards – Crossfield's collective development,” she said.
Keenan added the impetus behind the strategic plan is the budget associated with it, which is always an important element for taxpayers.
“The financial part of it and the implications for the tax money that’s spent is really important,” she said. “Taxpayers are always interested in that.”
She added the plan is a “road map” for administration to deliver on many of council’s wants, needs, and wishes for the community. The open houses are an opportunity for council members to ensure their desires for the community align with residents’ interests.
“From council’s perspective, it’s really an opportunity to ensure the community feels we’re on the right path and we haven’t missed anything,” she said. “It’s another way to keep the community informed about what the Town is doing and what the priorities are going to be over the next four years.”
She added the strategic plan is a “fluid” document, which means it is subject to change as needs adapt and new priorities emerge over the coming years.
“The [strategic plan] is forecasting to a great extent,” she said. “Things come up and they’re added, and things are shuffled or deferred to the following year – it really is a fluid document and something that [we’ll] really try and hit home with the community.”