City fleshing out six ‘work plans’ to direct future

The opening of Red Deer’s draft 2012 operational budget has introduced six strategies dubbed charters.

The opening of Red Deer’s draft 2012 operational budget has introduced six strategies dubbed charters.

On Tuesday, City manager Craig Curtis and Mayor Morris Flewwelling spoke of “charters” that the city would be embarking on over several years.

There was mention of the Safety Charter during a news briefing, but further review of budget documents show there are actually six.

The remaining ones centre on: Dialogue, Identity, Movement, Design and Economy. Each one has a goal (theme) specific outcomes and key strategies.

Councillor Cindy Jefferies said that these charters are being fleshed out. There are some budget amounts being asked for in the 2012 budget so that certain projects can go ahead.

“A lot of organizations are moving to charters,” she said. “It’s essentially another way of saying ‘work plan.’ It’s a new term that municipalities and organizations like the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association are using.”

These are strategies that the city plans to do, Jefferies said.

She said the first charter to get developed, the Movement charter, arose from the Integrated Movement Study, which looked at what residents think about bicycling, taking transit, walking and driving in the city today and for the future. This charter includes previously approved dollars of $800,000 for a commuter bike lane project, said city manager Craig Curtis.

Curtis said these six charters that have come up at budget time arise from the city’s 2012-14 Strategic Direction, which had the same themes. Five out of six charters have been presented to the city’s Policy and Governance committee, which has approved them as a “reasonable interpretation” but these charters haven’t been finalized yet. This committee is made up of all members of council.

“They become essentially fairly detailed work plans (over the next three years) outlining all the different projects within these specific areas,” said Curtis.

The Safety Charter’s goal is to promote a safe community through active citizen participation. Among the outcomes are: developing a Social Master Plan by 2014, and improved response by the police and allied agencies to individuals with mental health issues.

One key strategy is to create a specific made-in-Red Deer drug strategy that would identify gaps in services.

The Dialogue Charter is showing the city and council’s willingness to listen and have ongoing community dialogue. Its outcomes include having greater understanding of the diversity and strength of public opinion, and to increase Red Deer’s profile.

A key strategy includes creating a visibility strategy for $15,000 that would increase connections with MLAs and increase awareness of Red Deer.

The Identity Charter would help give the community a clear sense of civic pride and ownership, an understanding of who lives here, and how we’re connected to this place and to one another.

One outcome is to make sure Albertans clearly identify Red Deer’s identity, and ensure tourism increases.

One key strategy is to discover and create Red Deer’s identity through the hiring of a consultant, engaging the community, surveying Albertans and then developing a brand package. Estimated cost is nearly $26,000.

The Movement Charter aims to create alternatives to the car by encouraging healthy, active lifestyles and environmental stewardship. One outcome is to create a vision for the city’s transportation/movement philosophy.

The Design Charter aims to design and plan the community to “reflect our character and values.”

One outcome suggests increasing the number of stores and services located in individual neighbourhoods so people have a chance to connect.

The Economy Charter aims to diversify and stabilize the economy. One outcome recommends the establishment of a major headquarters office in Red Deer. One strategy suggests creating a special Festival Events and Conferences Strategy.