Environment & Economic Diversification New Focus Areas for Kimberley City Council

Council in Kimberley has finalized their new strategic priorities for the next four years, which includes a couple of new shakeups.

After October 2018's municipal elections saw two new councillors join the table, the municipal leaders got together in January to discuss what their top priorities are for managing the community. Full local election results here.

Mayor Don McCormick says he was not surprised to see the top two focus areas  - infrastructure renewal and financial sustainability/accountability - being the same.

"It took about 50 years to dig the infrastructure hole. We're certainly not going to get out of it in a couple of years or a couple of terms, so I would expect that infrastructure renewal is going to be there for quite some time. Similarly, financial sustainability is all about taxation in the community and ensuring that you know, we minimize the tax increases to the benefit of the taxpayer without decreasing levels of service."

The third focus area is not an entirely new one, but rather, has been altered. The Mayor explains that "new money" in the last term was having any additional businesses coming into town. 

The new focus on diversifying the local economy means ensuring that Kimberley has more to rely on than just tourism. After last summer's Meachen Creek wildfire put the City of Kimberley on evacuation notice for 18 days, McCormick says they learned very quickly how much a tourism-centric economy can fall in times like that.

McCormick says the other main new focus for the city will be on lessening their impact on the environment.

"The area of the country we live in is pretty pristine. I think there is a real sensitivity in appreciating the environment we live in. Really, what we're talking about here is not doing anything radical, it's about being responsible to the environment we live in."

Some of these things include building a network of electric/hybrid vehicle charging stations in the community and the city purchasing a new hybrid for their bylaw officer.

Communication and customer service are no longer listed in the top five priorities.

McCormick clarifies that this does not mean the city will no longer care about each item. He explains that they were first added to ensure that city staff could develop a system for handling communications and customer service. He says those have now been implemented, so council will instead focus on maintaining those "core services".

The table below illustrates council's new focus areas and how they have changed from the previous term:

Kimberley City Council: Focus Areas

 

2015-2018

2019-2022

1. Infrastructure Renewal

1. Infrastructure Renewal

2. Financial Sustainability

2. Financial Accountability

3. New Money

3. Facilitating a Diverse Economy

4. Communications

4. Core Services

5. Customer Service

5. Reducing Our Environmental Impact

Audio: Don McCormick, Mayor, City of Kimberley

 

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