Archive for ◊ September, 2010 ◊

19 Sep 2010 What is my Vision for the City of Steinbach
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My mission is to promote healthy living within a safe community by building strong partnerships and sustaining manageable growth.

Drive Sustainable, Manageable Growth

  • Build a Financial Sustainability plan to manage debt load
    o to provide public with plan to understand short and long term debt load
    o complete an accumulated financial impact study
    o provide a process of public understanding of municipal debt
  • Manage our growth rate through effective policy implementation
    o provide continuous, quality services in all areas water & sewer, parks & recreation, sanitation, streets, and administration
  • A Safer Community For All
    Review current policing options
    o Support RCMP in building proactive force
  • Support and enlarge our fire/rescue department
  • Support the Citizens on Patrol Program (COPP)

Public Health

  • Provide opportunities to participate in physical activities to lower regional health costs & promote fitness
  • Offer low cost activities like increased bike/walking pathways, community gardens, cross-country skiing and pleasure skating
  • Review opportunities for recreational activities that are cost effective

Build Strong Partnerships With Organizations

  • Steinbach Residents
    o listen to their concerns with an open mind
  • Steinbach Businesses
    o drive economy and growth in a sustainable manner
  • Hanover School Division
    o support initiatives to build schools
  • South Eastman Health
    o provide level of care required to meet the needs of our community
  • Community groups
    o cooperate with the Chamber of Commerce, Steinbach Fire Department, Steinbach Arts Council and Mennonite Heritage Museum
    o work together with sports associations, seniors groups, community resources and many other in Steinbach and area
  • Regional Partnerships with Rural Municipality of Hanover, La Broquierie and Ste Anne
    o collaborate on fire protection, sanitation services, building inspections and waterway agreements
07 Sep 2010 What I learnt the last four years on City Council
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One of the questions I have been asked lately goes something like this. So, now that you have been a councilor for one term what have you learnt?

Here are some of the things I have learnt during my first term on council;

1. The authority of power of a councilor is different than those of a manager, which is my current role at Loewen. In my workplace I understand the authority or power when it came to making decisions the form of guidelines within policy and budget. As a member of council, I have come to understand what the power represents in terms of decisions that move this community forward. The power is at a very different level and requires a visionary approach, not hands on but forward thinking and in putting policy in place that will be an effective tool to be used by council & staff for many years.

2. A better understanding as to the difference between the words governance and management. It isn’t about the day to day details about what is going on, but our job to provide policy that will move our community forward.

3. How to make a decision with information presented in the form of council material. Then do my own homework on the issues for next council meeting. I have appreciated the information presented by staff and it has been a great benefit. But there is always a public information piece that needs to be heard, understood and appreciated.

4. Have learnt to appreciate the difference of opinion between members of council, community and staff on what ever the issue. Each of us has a different point of view and it is my understanding that we are representing the majority of residence but need to listen and represent all residence of our community. At times we need to do what is best for the community as a whole, and not listen to the loudest voice.

5. Each member of council has different life skills and experiences that they bring to each meeting and each issue. I have learnt to appreciate the differences in opinion, not make issues personal, stick to the topic at hand and make a decision on what is best for Steinbach.

6. An understanding of what my role is within council. We deal with issues as our agenda states. Each of us completes our reading and background work in some way so as to come to council prepared to debate different issues. Then we get to agenda items that have a lot of debate, require me to think my way through all the details presented, make a decision. Then change focus entirely to the next issue and get passionate about that issue. I have gone home from meetings mentally fatigued.

7. The knowing that each word is recorded, need to be careful with words so as to be clear on the message I want to present. How I would like to be heard and understood becomes part of how I prepare for each meeting.

8. Interviews with the press. I have gained confidence in what to say and how to say, but at times it still comes out wrong. The radio and paper have both worked at understanding the intent and not only the words used. I appreciate the wordsmith-ing that has happened after I have provided an interview. That trust between the press and us a council is important.

9. I do have a better understanding of how my vision, together with council’s, ratepayers and the communities’ vision are all different and that I need to accept those differences. Because somewhere in between those opinions is the right decision.

10. I was asked if there where any decisions that I would have voted on differently if we could go back. Yes there are a few that I would like back, some because I could have done more homework others because I absolutely think they where counter productive to my community vision. But having said that once a decision of council has been made it is the right decision and one that I support.

11. I have come to appreciate my community as I start to see it in a different light. Understanding what issues move our community, what the different passions of our citizens are and how they feel about different issues. The feedback, positive or negative, is a result of people being passionate about what they want as part of their community. And in the end it is the passion for our community that will continue to make us successful and keep us moving forward.