Town ready to draw up strategic plan

With the 2004 budget up for a vote this coming Monday night, town council and management are looking to get a jump on the 2005 budget, as well as getting a better picture of Fort Frances’ future, with a strategic plan.
The first meeting to get the process going is slated next week, when the town meets with a representative from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to start on what Mayor Dan Onichuk said Tuesday is “long overdue.”
“It’s really a preliminary discussion, as far as telling the ministry what we want to do,” the mayor said. “We want to take a look at the operation of the corporation, where we want to be in the next few years, [and] what is the long-term financial plan for the community?”
He noted the strategic planning will start with a corporate plan, and be followed by a town development plan geared more towards zoning and the likes.
“Everything’s in the mix,” Mayor Onichuk said of the corporate plan. “There could be restructuring of the management lines. We want to look at the flow of the workforce, find efficiencies.
“We want to identify core services,” he added. “Knowing what we really want to concentrate on will help us in next year’s budget.”
Mayor Onichuk also promised there will be lots of public consultation. “We want people to know what council is thinking regarding the corporate structure of the town.”
He noted the town then will look at what the strategic plan should be regarding business and development.
This plan, for instance, could designate what zones will be used for specific kinds of development within Fort Frances, (commercial, industrial, residential, etc.), or re-route truck traffic flow so that trucks could enter town from the east end and make it to the industrial park without going down Scott Street.
“In the end, we want a plan where when we make any decisions in the future, we can say, ‘We can do that because that’s in the plan. Or, we can’t do that because that’s not in the plan,” remarked Mayor Onichuk.
“We want to make it possible for the town and its residents to be able to plan for the future,” he stressed.