Minto council adopts strategic plan for municipality

MINTO – Town council has adopted a strategic plan to guide the municipality through to 2028.

Goals laid out in the plan, approved following a presentation by consulting firm McQueen Galloway Associates (MGA) at the Feb. 20 meeting, focus on infrastructure maintenance, enhancing local quality of life, fostering an inclusive community and providing responsible government.

“The town’s strategic plan is a critical document outlining council priorities and initiatives over the four-year term, providing guidance on major projects and areas of focus,” explained MGA principal Tracey McQueen.

McQueen outlined the steps involved in researching the plan, which included interviews and in-person sessions with council and senior management, as well as surveys and sessions with staff.

Public engagement sessions were held in Clifford, Harriston and Palmerston to gather input on community goals and priorities.

Andy Goldie of MGA noted the priorities identified by council and staff largely aligned with community input.

“A lot of things that this council and the senior team and staff are talking about are on the same lines as what the community was,” he stated.

“So you really had a really good feel of what the community was looking for and what they thought were the priorities.”

Goldie noted, maintaining, renewing and expanding municipal infrastructure “to enhance healthy growth and our environment,” was the first strategic priority identified the in the plan.

The plan, he explained, identifies short, medium and long term priorities “that we need to tackle as staff and as council over the next four years.”

Optimizing programs and municipal facilities was among the priorities that emerged from discussions on quality of life in Minto, said Goldie.

“Quality of life is something that every community really strives for. We know that’s what everybody moves to the community for … It’s a strong economic driver of people, why they want to come and live or work in your community,” said Goldie.

“Minto showed its strong support for parks and recreation, over the years, with all the facilities and spaces.”

He added these areas will be addressed in a Parks and Recreation Master Plan, which is in development and expected to come before council in May or June.

“Goal number three is a strong, vibrant economy. And again, this is another area we have a master plan underway,” said Goldie.

The focus here, he explained, will be on progressively supporting local businesses “while leveraging Minto’s competitive advantage to attract new economic development investments.”

Creating an inclusive community is the fourth strategic goal identified in the plan.

“This is something that I think, as a former CAO in the County of Wellington, that Minto is well known for and are leaders in inclusion, diversity and equity in the community,” Goldie pointed out.

Creating a volunteer database and exploring other support tools for volunteer operations organizations will be a key action in working toward inclusiveness, he noted.

Goldie told council Minto has “a really strong organizational level of staff” to help with the fifth goal of delivering responsible government.

He noted local officials must ensure “we’re continuously speaking to the upper levels of government about needing more help.

“We need more funding, and we need more resources back in the Town of Minto to be able to support those social services or operational issues, housing, things of that nature, that this council and most small municipalities don’t have a lot of control or say over.

“But we’re always led to look to being able to drive those locally within our organization,” he added.

Much of the impetus to deliver on goals in the strategic plan will be tied to the development of recreation, cultural and economic master plans that are in the works, said Goldie.

“We want to assure everybody listening tonight … council and staff and the community will have further engagement in those master plans. So again, very made-in-Minto plans,” he noted.

Co-interim CAO Mark Potter stated, “Council and staff now have a new roadmap that clearly outlines goals, priorities and actions to accomplish in this term of council and beyond.”

Potter added staff recommended adoption of the plan, including the new vision statement: “a progressive rural community, where all people are welcome.”

Mayor Dave Turton thanked the consultants for their efforts on the plan.

“It’s a living document. There’ll be no dust on it. We’re going to start tomorrow,” the mayor stated.

To view the full strategic plan document visit…/2024-2028-strategic-plan.