The Strategy for an Exceptional City

strategy definitionAny successful venture starts with a purpose and a vision. In Spruce Grove that purpose and vision are expressed in the city’s strategic plan: Building an Exceptional City. 

This plan, which covers the period 2018-35 (when it assumes a population of 65,000), is the city’s guiding document for governance, community development, and service delivery. Everything that the city does is contained in this essential document. Flowing from the strategic plan is the city’s budget, which council will deal with in early November. 

I’ve read the city’s strategic plan because I believe that anyone who runs for local office should know the vision, values, and purpose of the city they hope to govern. I’ve attended council meetings because I want to know the job I’m applying for. 

The plan defines the goal of being a thriving, desirable community and fully aligns with my desire to see Spruce Grove as an amazing place in which to live and work. From the plan’s foundational set of guiding principles, three key pillars for a successful community arise:

  • A desire to be a city with a strong quality of life inclusive of safety, affordability, sustainability, and inclusiveness
  • A desire to be a vibrant community including arts, culture, leisure, recreation and sports opportunities
  • A desire to be a city that entices, enables, and encourages businesses to thrive

The strategic plan outlines goals, strategies, and intended outcomes to drive the success of each pillar. These serve as the compass for the city as it plots its course for the next 10 to 20 years to the benefit of existing residents and with a vision to attract new ones. 

Even before reading this document, my goals for the city closely aligned with council’s vision. It is one of the reasons I decided to represent you. It’s my job as a councillor to ensure the city remains focused and diligent in continuing the great work that has already been done. 

I agree with the purpose and vision and the three pillars defined in the plan to help develop Spruce Grove as the most desirable community in which to live and work; I’ll work hard to continue to steer the city along the path as outlined in the strategic plan. 

Putting the plans into action, the city has a number of other planning documents that guide relevant areas of city development:

All the information contained in these is vitally important to the city as it plans for the future. Supplementing these is the city’s Social Sustainability Plan which lays out the social side of the city’s strategic planning. I’ve read through hundreds of pages of these documents to understand the city’s strategy and am well versed in the strategic direction of the city. Armed with this knowledge I am excited and eager to contribute to the vibrant future of Spruce Grove.

4 Responses to “The Strategy for an Exceptional City

  • What would you do to enhance the over utilized water facility that SpruceGrove and other cities use?

  • Hi. I may have missed it but I don’t see where you mention seniors housing. What are your thoughts or plans for more seniors housing in Spruce Grove? Is this part of the plan that you mention? Thanks.

  • Thanks for reaching out, Corrine!

    The Strategic Plan is intended to provide high-level guidance for the city until 2035. It doesn’t call out any specific demographic or any specific solutions to current issues. What it does provide is a framework and a “north star” that the city needs to remain focused on as we make near-term decisions on current issues.

    Additional documents and policies all tie back to the Strategic Plan such as the Municipal Development Plan which calls out initiatives such as:
    – Focus higher density and seniors housing in proximity to amenities, transit, and gathering places
    – Create affordable options that respond to the need of unique populations including […] seniors
    – …providing appealing housing options suitable for seniors wishing to remain in the city…
    – etc.

    Again, while these are more specific, they are still only guiding principles so we need some concrete ideas on how to tackle this that drives toward the outcomes intended in these other strategic documents.

    In discussing this issue with a large number of residents, it’s clear that seniors needs are underserved in Spruce Grove. The city needs to do more to advocate for more and for better seniors facilities. Seniors who own homes in Spruce Grove, cannot afford to sell that home and move into any of the current facilities since demand is so high it has driven prices through the roof. This high property valuation leads to extremely high taxes which are difficult for those on a fixed income. Some sort of tax break for seniors who are living in some of these costly facilities is an initiative the city needs to review. We need to look at other examples who have had success in this area like the cooperative approach taken at the Grove Senior’s Village and try to replicate what they have done by providing them the space to engage in such endeavours.

    In building these new communities, it is also very important that the city incorporate and surround these seniors facilities with the greater community by ensuring that they have access to all the services that they need. Seniors need access to services like the library, pharmacies, health centers, or even transit and the Specialized Transit Services offered in the area.

    Assisted living is also very big concern. In a September 2020 report by AHS, Spruce Grove was tagged as being in urgent need of assisted care facilities. The new St. Michael’s facility slated to open in 2023 will help, but from what I’ve heard it will be too expensive for many. We need much more than that and we need to encourage other developers and other community groups to address the shortcoming by offering incentives and fostering a positive relationship to make it easy for them to take on these projects. I’ve heard so many stories of people who sent a loved one to a facility in a different community just because there aren’t enough facilities in Spruce Grove. I’ve also heard from those who are on the verge of having to make such a move, but cannot find a place to go because it’s just too expensive for someone on a fixed income and limited means.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on how we can better serve seniors. While I have my own opinions, it’s my job—as your representative—to speak with your voice. If you would like to discuss this or any other topic, I can buy you a coffee and we can discuss or feel free to call me (587.853.0311).

    Thanks!
    Jeff

  • Thanks for the reply. It sounds like this is something you have been thinking about. Affordable senior’s housing definitely needs to be addressed as Spruce Grove attracts more people.
    In order for housing to be inclusive it needs to be affordable without needing a tax credit or subsidy in order to qualify for the housing.

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