Happy 2016! On behalf of Quesnel City Council, I wish you all the best this coming year. It will certainly be a busy one for the City and for Council! In fact, we have so many initiatives on the go we’ve created a rolling three-month calendar to give the general public sufficient advance notice of our public engagement events and special open meetings of Council. This calendar can be viewed on the City’s website. We hope to maximize public involvement in our efforts to create a vibrant and resilient community.
Our Executive Committee continues to work on the outcomes of our Master Parks Plan. One of these outcomes is the creation of an “Active Transportation Plan” which will provide the City with an overall strategy to improve our walking and cycling trails and recommend improvements to our trails, roads and sidewalks. Our desired outcome is to enable more walking and bicycle commuting along with easier movement for people using mobility devices. We’re hoping to access provincial transportation money to start implementing this plan in 2016.
We will also be undertaking a complete review of our transit system. This review will be conducted by BC Transit and we hope many current and potential transit riders will engage in this process so we maximize this opportunity to make our transit system more effective and efficient. Between the work on our Active Transportation Plan and this transit review, Council hopes to give people more safe and effective alternatives to using their personal vehicles to move around in the City – good news for your pocketbook, for our air quality, and for the planet’s climate.
During its 2016 Strategic Planning sessions, Council made a deliberate decision to lead the process of attracting investment in more modern housing options, both for affordable and market-based housing. We also want to see increased densification in our downtown core and surrounding neighborhoods. Wellplanned housing options that are integrated with our transit system and trail networks will strengthen our ability to retain and attract seniors, young professionals, students, and service-sector workers. At the same time, this initiative will address some of our current affordable housing challenges.
Other Council initiatives for 2016 include: updating our procurement policies to maximize local investment of tax dollars as well as ensure your tax money supports the creation of a socially and environmentally sustainable community; a comprehensive review of our public safety and enforcement systems; a full appraisal of our waste management system; and, an assessment of how we maintain our parks, playgrounds, and flower beds with a view to implementing environmentally sustainable best practices.
Underpinning all this work, Council will also be leading a process to re-brand the City. While “Goldpan City” and “Woodsmart City” served their purpose and reflect the City’s past, we need a new logo and catch phrase that entices people to check out all that Quesnel has to offer today.
I hope you’ll review our calendar of public meetings and engage in our efforts to shape the future of our community.