Trail has been home to some top notch changes since the 2014 civic election – a new bridge is up, a new reading and history hub is on the way and the airport is proving to be a principal player in big city and rural connectivity.
So what’s in the cards for the second half of Trail council’s four-year term?
The Trail Times asked Mayor Mike Martin to reflect on the city’s direction now that he and the six councillors are two years into their elected positions, and their vision between now and the 2018 municipal election.
“The last two years on council have been very exciting and rewarding,” Martin began. “Early on in council’s term we got together as a team and developed a strategic plan which established a strong focus and alignment in terms of our vision and how we wanted to see the city advance and develop.”
Foresight within a strategic plan is critical for city officials as it provides focus and direction and also allows council to better measure performance and success … and should result in ongoing improvements in the City of Trail, he explained.
“To a very significant degree, we now see how this planning process has resulted in success as many of the objectives have been delivered.”
Understandably, the ride isn’t always smooth for ambitious capital ventures such as the $15-million Skywalk and $8-million integrated library/museum.
“Given the very dynamic nature of the city’s operations and the interplay with many external organizations, there are always numerous challenges along the way that also need to be addressed,” Martin pointed out.
“Council has remained on task and through strong resolve and leadership have delivered on the plan as well as dealt with the day to day governance and operations of the city. We are definitely seeing a positive change in Trail as we advance the strategic initiatives.”
With encouraging progress comes increased confidence in the community, which is paying off with further private investment, he said.
“As we continue to work towards enhancing the pride, vitality and growth in the community, council will continue to work diligently as we enter the second half of this four-year term,” Martin added. “And appreciate the public’s participation and feedback as we work collectively for the betterment of the community.”
Council recently undertook a review from a December strategic planning session, which Martin describes as “a reality check to reflect on work we had done.”
“And (we) decided that given the early stages of the Airport Terminal Building Project there remains considerable involvement of both the Airport Committee as well as council,” he noted. “For this reason the airport was added as a Strategic Priority list for council. This will also include the necessary oversight of the runway paving project should we be successful with the associated Airport Capital Assistance Program funding for repaving the runway.”
Several priorities were established during council’s initial 2015 strategic planning process, and to date, five of those points have specific actions underway with varying degrees of completion.
Those being the airport, Riverfront Centre, Esplanade, Columbia River Skywalk and skateboard park – one not accomplished, the Boundary Expansion, has been removed from the list.
Martin says the 2017/2018 objectives are in fact, an extension and enhancement of the council’s initial objectives.
“This is continuing the journey of revitalizing our downtown and adding to the attractiveness of our city,” he told the Trail Times. “As part of the planning process, all members of council and senior staff are engaged as part of advancing items that were then discussed and developed during the two-day planning session. This process should ensure all key items are identified and there is consensus and alignment in terms of the priorities and having them included within the plan that has now been approved.”
Emphasis was placed on the reality that priorities must be achievable within budget and resource constraints of the city.
“Focusing council and staff as we work towards improving the city and adding value to the community is an important role for council that many municipalities seemingly overlook,” Martin said.
Aside from the Riverfront Centre and new airport terminal opening this year, council will also be looking at ways to develop tourism and sell the attractiveness of the Esplanade.
Riverfront Centre ground breaking
“With the opening of the Riverfront Centre, we see a real opportunity to leverage its presence beside Jubilee Park and proximity to the Columbia River and the new Columbia River Skywalk,” Martin said. “We need to ensure that city funded initiatives are, in fact, resulting in the maximum return for the investment made in attracting tourists into our community,” he clarified. “We believe we have