On Aug. 28, Kitchener City Council approved its new 20-year vision and its 2023-2026 strategic plan. The priorities of the approved plan include building a connected city, cultivating a green city, creating an economically thriving city, fostering a caring city and stewarding a better city.
“Strategic planning is the process of trying to envision what the city could be. We want to be able to process information and feedback from residents to execute the bigger picture,” Troy Glover, Vice Chair of Compass Kitchener, said.
The Compass Kitchener citizen advisory endorsed the strategic plan and resident involvement. Public feedback was collected through a number of different ways. A telephone survey of more than 1,000 residents was conducted, as well as “street team” interviews with dozens of people.
EngageWR also put together a special resident council for consultations. Kitchener’s city council recruited 36 volunteers of diverse backgrounds and lived experiences to form the “Plan WITH Us” resident panel for the first time in Kitchener’s history.
The Plan WITH US resident panel sought out 40 community members on Sept. 27, 2022. Volunteers work with senior-level staff and other city volunteers to learn about the diverse and complex issues Kitchener faces and the considerations which impact the city’s residents. Srihasya Kandala is a member of the resident panel.
“I started volunteering in 2022 in the winter months then. [We] met once every month. And then through that we were able to even add an extra month because it was a group of such passionate individuals that really wanted to do something good for our city,” Kandala said.
“Along with my colleagues on that committee, we looked into how to collect information and receive information from that which is collected and summarize it to provide reports to council in an advisory capacity,” Glover said.
The city council approved the 2023-2026 strategic goals, goal statements and the courses of action that will be taken within the first two years of approval. The 2019-2022 strategic plan included measurable, specific actions and a timeline for competition. The current long-term financial plan will also be aligned to implement the strategic plan.
“The concept of strategic planning focuses on the idea that I came to the process with pursuing certain outcomes, but the reality is that in my role in compass Kitchener, we’re very much part of ensuring that the process is appropriate,” Glover said.
Compass Kitchener identified the outcomes that the public collectively desired. Canvasing the public and requesting feedback ensured the public’s involvement in planning for Kitchener’s future.
“I realized that this is something that I’m passionate about and finding involvement for youth in our communities. And that’s kind of the sole reason that I stuck with it,” Kandala said. Kandala started as a member of the panel initially to add to the 40 required volunteer hours for school. Her family initially came from the Peel Region and had not been a part of a resident council before. She and other panel members are excited to see their months of hard work pay off with the recent plan approvals. She is now always looking for ways for young residents to become involved with their city.
To learn more about the 2023-2026 goals and the 20-year vision and strategic plan visit the Strategic plan and business plan.