Over the next four years, council will aim to increase recreation options, reduce homelessness and create a strategy for waterfront development, all while keeping tax increases in line with inflation, according to a new document created to provide guidance to district staff.
The “2014-2018 Council Goals & Objectives” was presented at last Monday’s council meeting, lays out a range of plans in eight different categories: lifestyle, finances, forestry, public safety, infrastructure, social issues, sustainability and economic development.
Mayor Randy Hawes said council agreed on all points in what is a “living document.” It is meant to provide direction to district staff and can be altered as council sees fit.
The first category, lifestyle, has 10 objectives, including implementing the Stave West Master Plan over the next four years, building a new skatepark and adding an artificial turf field and running track within two years, and working with the school district to develop community centres in schools.
“We have not put money into our parks for years,” Hawes said. “It’s time that we started putting infrastructure in our parks.”
Some of the money for that, he said, will come from funds that had been allocated for the now-shelved relocation of Lougheed Highway.
Other objectives include, but are not limited to:
Financial: Establishing the West Coast Express and transit to Maple Ridge as a regional service over the next year; increasing non-residential tax revenue; review business licence fees and connect them to community costs.
Public safety: Hire more officers; get improved ambulance response teams; work with RCMP and bylaw enforcement to address frequent offenders.
Social issues: ensure no charge for hospital parking; improve access to activities for disabled or special needs adults; investigate housing rental opportunities for vulnerable residents.
Economic: explore expanding film industry; develop tourism forum with operators and experts; explore micro-housing; develop a business retention and expansion strategy.