The plan, prepared by consultants with Collins Barrow SNT and Marketing Consulting, considered previous community development plans and recommendations for a renewed strategy for the future.
It was put together in consultation with businesses, economic development groups, council, and residents, including a town-wide survey which 408 people responded to. The process also saw a public meeting in June that attracted about 60 residents.
“The strategic plan will be a guideline for this council as to the decisions they make throughout the year…and the programs and projects entered into going forward,” clerk administrator Katie Scott told council at its inaugural meeting Monday evening.
“Once the plan is adopted… it will be presented on the website and copies will be made available as well should anyone wish to come in and obtain one from the municipal office,” Scott added, in response to a question from Councillor Jim Dunbar on its public distribution.
Council will also be appointing a community committee to work on recommendations contained in the plan. Scott said the town will be recruiting members to sit on the committee.
“This should be a community-driven plan… input from the community to council on how they would like to see the plan carried out,” she said.
Some of the criticism contained in the report was levied against council and a perception that it did not listen to concerns raised in the past by businesses in Blind River.
Councillor Clifford Spratt said he was “disappointed” by some of aspects of the report.
“Quite frankly, I was quite disappointed by this plan. I was even more disappointed at the fact the proponents of the plan have cast aspersions on the council, members of…. the development corporation… that they don’t seem to do enough,” he said. “I’m disappointed that those things got put in here. There are a lot of very good parts of the plan. They made all kinds of criticism, but they haven’t made any suggestions on the proper way to fix things up.”
Councillor HP Roy was also critical.
“It was hurtful to read those, but I think that maybe it’s time we pull up our socks a little bit,” he said.
“I believe that in going forward we’re going to be looking at some opportunities for the strategic plan… we will be delving into those opportunities… and taking recommendations and opinions that are so important in our future,” Mayor Sally Hagman responded.
Among the issues brought forward in the report was a recommendation to look for ways to improve the town’s business area and dealing with improving recreational activities and attracting new business and development.
The complete report is now available on the town website.
Council unanimously approved adopting the strategic plan.