Through the course of the election I'm looking forward to discussing the future and we want for our city. At the same time I'm proud of what this council has accomplished under my leadership and I'm happy to look back and share just some of the highlights.
After being elected in 2010 Bill's council focused on controlling taxes. First, Bill's council reduced the 2011 tax increase that the previous council had set at approximately 6.8%, down to just 2.5%. This council's combined tax increases have been the lowest of any council in the past decade.
Under the guidance of a Economic Development Steering Committee made up of business, industry and public members, Bill's council developed and approved the city's Industrial Attraction Strategy.
The strategy is intended to lay out a plan for how the city can ensure it is a competitive and attractive place for new industrial development. This is a important because commercial & industrial properties pay significant taxes - attracting them balances the city's tax base and reduces the demand on homeowners.
Learn More: Industrial Attraction Strategy (.pdf)
One of the keys to developing a safe and caring community is having neighbours who know one another. This term Bill's council has initiated the creation of 6 new Neighbourhood Associations and 7 Neighbourhood Safety Teams to bring residents together and to allow them to have a direct influence in shaping the community they want.
Learn More: Neighbourhood Associations & Safety Teams
Diversifying The Economy
Sport Tourism is a $3.6 billion a year industry in Canada (Statistics Canada, 2010). The Sports Tourism Strategy provides a plan for how the Grande Prairie region can attract more events by; supporting local sports organizations, growing participation in sport, sharing best practices and bidding for events in a coordinated manner. One of the first outcomes of the strategy is the creation of a new Sport Council for the region.
Learn More: Sports Tourism Strategy (.pdf)
Planning has been completed and funds are budgeted for the expansion of Muskoseepi Park north of Centre 2000, toward Royal Oaks. This expansion is the first time the park has grown in the past 25 years and will allow new neighbourhoods north of the bypass to access the city's park and trail system. Approximately $700,000 has been set aside for construction in 2014.
Engaging Residents as Citizens
Starting with the Love of Cities event in early 2012 featuring the author of For the Love of Cities, Peter Kageyama, Bill's council has worked to ensure residents know they have a vital role to play in building the community we all want. This council followed up by crafting and adopting activateGP, a Citizen Engagement Policy for the city.
Learn More: activateGP Plan (.pdf)