"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Friday 20 April 2012

Kind Of ...

Anonymous said...
What exactly is a Visioning Statement?

Is this what happens when one sees an angel or a Saint or some such manifestation and tells about it?
A description of an elephant. A horse designed by a committee.

Visioning statement is like a bolt of lightening,after numbers of people, led by consultants ,have a variety of meetings and share  thoughts about what they would like the town to look in, usually five years time. We review our Official Plan every five years to ensure it is still current.

The last time  the Strategic Plan was updated,, we took the previous one off the shelf, dusted it off and looked to see if anything needed to be changed.

It didn't. The town's aspirations remained the same. Nobody was surprised. It wasn't a crystal ball. Just a sensible outlook.

Council, staff  and interested citizens  spent some time together
talking . Spent no money at all to speak of. 

Every time a staff  recommendation came to Council the report noted how the recommendation reconciled with the Strategic Plan. It usually did. That was the point of the Strategic Plan. It was a path to follow to achieve the objective. Everybody kept their eye on the ball.

When the new CAO came on board, reference to the Strategic Plan disappeared from staff reports. I asked why. I was informed  Council had not adopted the Strategic Plan and it was a way of making staff reports shorter. 

That was a puzzlement. The Strategic Plan is adopted by Bylaw. We don't re-adopt bylaws every time there's a change in Council.
Reference to the Startegic Plan in staff reports was the only visible sign we had one and it meant anything. 

It was at that point,I stopped trying to make sense at first blush of anything seen or heard .

The Mormac Duo were having meetings in the Mayor's office until two in the morning, planning the town's future between them. NO input was welcome.  It was never immediately obvious what they were up to. Whatever it was ,they could always count on the support of the remainder of the gang of six.   Even if they  had no more  idea of the plan than the rest of us.

Anyway, that brings us to last year and the first year of the current Council. The majority of whom were new.

The Strategic Plan process  was to be even more ambitious. We would plan strategically for  thirty years instead of  five. That  would  show how serious we are about  designing the future.

Never mind that it would be totally unrealistic.

It would require the services of a consultant and it only made sense the  enormity  of the cost would  match the size of the project.

So  we  adopted in the budget an  estimate of $85,000.

It apparently sounded just about right to our widely and vastly experienced members of the new Council.

The Visioning  Statement is what we holler out to the world what we think about our town to encourage business to locate here and nowhere else.

We are innovative and  sustainable.  Neighbors care and business  thrives.

It seems at times the deniznes at the town hall never  leave their offices.

They must drive up or down the 404 , in along  Wellington Street. certainly not on Yonge Street to notice vast empty spaces  with grimy windows and dusty entrances . Or Victoria Street to see the
shabby old public buildings .Or Bayview to see new but vacant
industrial buildings.

They must be hoping a Visioning Statement will do what a drive through  town to recognize  tell-tale signs would not.

The terms Ivory Tower  and  Lilliput  take  on new meaning in  Aurora  to-day.


Anonymous said...

Colour me stubborn or bone-headed but I just keep on hoping the Councillors will realize who is pulling their strings and come to resent it. Once that happens, the traces of spine which Aurorans sometime see on rare occasions might become more common. It would be great to hear about Council Initiatives. We are all heartily fed up with Staff Initiatives.

KA-NON said...

Staff initiatives are not bad per se. I mean, we pay lots of money for professional staff, who's careers are based on the management of municipal administration. If they did not come up with initiatives based on their experience and expertise, I would be concerned. Do we expect rookie councillors to be experts in the machinations of municipal administration?

That said, council is ultimately accountable, and should be comfortable with staff initiatives, and should not be afraid to question them, and to satisfy themselves that they reflect what the taxpayers want and need.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should throw in the odd angel or saint or manifestation, into our Visioning Statement.

With a good bit of imagination we might even be able to design and build a theme park, multi-religious of course.

If we build it, they will come!