Banff council has laid out its top five strategic priorities for 2013, which are centered around three key areas: sense of place, a healthy community and the local economy.
At its meeting on Dec. 20, council approved what will be the final list of priorities for its term in office by selecting certain items that will require ongoing focus to complete. A byelection will be held later this year.
After what Mayor Karen Sorensen said was a lengthy process with members of administration, council determined what it sees as crucial areas for attention.
“Council gets together with management and the process is we brainstorm a lot of ideas. We flip chart, I remember, numbers as high as 180 items,” Sorensen said about the selection.
“We go through a facilitation process where some of them get put together and some of them get a bigger title,” she continued. “Then literally seven of us go around and rate them based on priority.
“It’s done between council and administration and indirectly through the public because council represents the public,” she added.
One of the top five priorities is the Town’s pledge for a sustainable transportation system, which has previously been included on the list for the past two years.
According to administration’s report to council, an environmentally and economically sustainable transportation system will enhance both residents’ quality of life and the visitor experience.
“The sustainable transportation system involves so many aspects,” the mayor said. “Certainly regional transit and increasing the ridership on Roam, locally and in-between communities, is part of that, but so is this transportation master plan that’s being worked on.”
Sorensen also pointed out that some other areas in the master plan involve traffic flow, pedestrian flow and parking issues since members of council are still discussing the option of paid parking.
The rest of the priority list includes an urban forest management plan, having an effective land use bylaw, and moving the town in the direction of financial sustainability and economic prosperity.
“I think they’re all equally important,” Sorensen said about the priorities. “Obviously, council wants to be involved in the economic prosperity of our community. That’s a fundamental requirement of a successful community.
“We’ve been talking for years about financial sustainability and the need to be viewed by the province as unique by our shadow population.”
Administration’s report also noted that there are no financial implications to the approval of the priorities and that they also provide direction for the annual operating budget as well as the 10-year capital plan.
Council voted unanimously in favour of adopting the 2013 strategic priorities list.