It’s hard to reach a goal if there’s no plan so Summerside city council is is coming up with one.
Earlier this week, the city’s chief administrative officer outlined the work being done to develop a 10-year capital improvement plan that will set the municipality’s priorities for the next decade.
The idea is a good one but one that cannot be cast in stone. There are too many variables that can affect the best-laid plans.
As John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.”
And the life of a city is far from predictable. Case in point, since the province decided, unilaterally, to change its municipal funding formula, the city has lost millions of dollars in revenue. Unanticipated new regulations, both federal and provincial, can affect how municipal dollars are spent. And then there’s Mother Nature - major winter storms, flooding, erosion, and kind of unforeseen disaster, whether it be natural or manmade, all can impact city coffers.
In essence, the city is hoping to put out a “living” plan for the next decade, one that will be reviewed on a year-to-year basis to ensure that the highest priorities are being addressed.
City council is not giving up its authority to make changes to the capital improvement planbecause priorities do change and it would be unwise for civic officials to handcuff themselves with a set of commitments that cannot be altered when situations dictate so.
The City of Summerside Act mandates that the city have a one-year capital improvement budget each year.
But what this new 10-year plan does is it sets a vision and allows for long-term planning for long-term goals and outlines how these priorities will be funded.
Another positive aspect to it is transparency.
The public will know what the city’s priorities are over the next decade and will be able to contact their individual councillor with suggestions or concerns.
But the public must realize that the city is not making promises and that plans are subject to change.
The capital improvement plan is not a budget, nor a contract, nor a promise, but a look into the future at the way the city would like to see things happen and to give the citizens an idea of the types of priorities that council has placed on capital improvement in all departments across the city.