WEYBURN – Weyburn city council approved a four-year strategic plan for the City of Weyburn, described as “a living document” that will help set the direction for decisions impacting the future growth of the community.
Nicole Spagrud, a human resources consultant for the city, outlined the plan, noting at outset that the new vision for the city is “A community for all”, and the mission is “Growing through opportunity.”
She said work on the plan began in 2022, and was developed after meeting with key stakeholders, community partners and getting input from the citizens survey.
Four strategic priorities were developed, with goals outlined for each one. The first priority was the economy, and the goals are to grow the economy, have stable and diversified growth, and attract and support businesses.
The second priority is growth, with the goals including infrastructure planning and investment; fiscal responsibility and stability; and being informed and innovative.
The third priority is community, with goals to have quality programs and services, to have a diverse, inclusive and caring community, and to have a safe and livable community.
The last priority is about governance, with the goals to have a culture of municipal excellence, organizational health, and engaging and collaborative relationships.
Mayor Marcel Roy noted these are very general ideas, but will help guide the current and future councils in their decision-making, as the plan will act as a sort of lens to focus the direction of those decisions.
Coun. Jeff Richards said the plan will act as a sort of North Star for council helping to give direction.
“I appreciate the work that’s gone into it. I hope all residents will look at this, and people will talk to us about it,” he said, adding he hopes the youth council members will be asked about their input on the direction the city is taking.
Spagrud noted this was one of the stakeholder groups they hope to be getting input from as the city moves forward.
Mayor Roy noted at the last joint meeting between the city and RM councils, Stats Can provided a projection of growth from around 11,500 now to 13,600 within the next 10 years. He pointed out that fast growth can cause problems, as they witnessed from the boom a little while ago, but slow and steady growth will be easier to manage and plan for.
“What I’d really like to see is to have the vision statement here on the wall, as a reminder to us every time we are in this chamber of what that lens is,” said Coun. John Corrigan.
“As a councillor, we’re expected to know a lot of things. I really appreciate something like this to help me make decisions,” added Coun. Laura Morrissette.
“It’s a great document,” said Coun. Larry Heggs, who noted he was part of the stakeholders who provided input in the consultation period for the plan, and asked if other groups will get to have input also.
“The strategic plan is a living document,” said Spagrud, noting that they are open to having engagement with stakeholders and citizens who have ideas or comments. She also pointed out that they will be reporting on the metrics of the plan quarterly to council and administration.
“We’re developing action plans for 2024,” she said. “This isn’t just a piece of paper on a shelf, it’s a living document that we actually use.”
Mayor Roy pointed out they had an example of how progressive Weyburn is, as a developer who bought the land where Souris School was formerly located had noted they were considering a number of communities in Saskatchewan. They chose Weyburn as it looked like a good place to do business.
• In other council business, the City opened the intersection of 16th Street and First Avenue as of 5 p.m. on Tuesday evening, with the completion of the project to upgrade the intersection and improve traffic flow.
• Council gave first reading to amending the zoning bylaw to allow a developer to build a multi-level senior residential care complex on the former site of Souris School.
The developer is asking to have the parcel rezoned from residential R2 to R3, residential multiple housing. With the first reading passed for the rezoning, the matter will come back to the Oct. 23 council meeting, and a public hearing will be held at that time to hear any concerns or comments on the proposed development.
• Mayor Roy said that city facilities, including City Hall, the Spark Centre and Leisure Centre, will be closed on Saturday, Sept. 30 for National Truth and Reconciliation Day.
A Walk for Reconciliation will be held in Jubilee Park on Saturday, at 1 p.m., starting off at the Credit Union Spark Centre. A Treaty 4 timeline has been set up along the paths in Jubilee Park, and the walk will take place to observe the timeline posts along the path.
The walk will be held as a part of Culture Days in Weyburn. The Weyburn Arts Council and Weyburn Art Gallery are co-hosting the walk, and will host an evening of documentaries and desserts on Friday, Sept. 29 at 6:30 p.m., in the Allie Griffin auditorium on the lower level of the Weyburn Public Library.