Affordable housing and homelessness, public safety, health care, economic development and recreation were the top priorities addressed by approximately 65 participants at a Parksville mayor’s roundtable held early this year
Parksville mayor Ed Mayne, as part of a campaign promise, held a facilitated roundtable event on Jan. 19 with a diverse group of citizens, members of council and senior city staff to discuss the vision for Parksville’s future.
Mayne presented the results from the roundtable at a March 18 council meeting.
“The goal of the event was to start an open conversation with the members from the Parksville community and to learn what our residents love about this city and what priority actions the community wishes this council to focus on during its term of office,” Mayne said in his summary.
“There will be many more opportunities for council to engage with citizens as we develop the action plan for the next 3.5 years.”
In addition to the priority items noted for the city, participants also raised concerns around a need for more policing and enhanced security, such as lighting, a need for improved access to health care resources and the need to address a doctor shortage.
Participants also discussed a desire to see more options for recreation, such as a cinema, multiplex sports complex, swimming pool, indoor track and festival and entertainment opportunities.
Participants were also able to highlight priorities for Parksville they felt council should focus on accomplishing in the next 12 months. These priorities included affordable housing to attract younger people and provide workers for local business, affordable places for people of all ages to live, decrease homelessness and addiction and development of housing.
In addition, several of the short-term priorities focused on the 222 Corfield supportive housing facility, such as not allowing drugs at 222 Corfield and settling controversy and community divisiveness around 222 Corfield.
Examples of where the city can take specific actions to address the priorities include, developing policy to guide decision making, improve turnaround times for new projects, enacting bylaws to promote certain behaviours and discourage others, and engage in pubic consultation and education to support understanding of community expectations.
In Mayne’s executive summary, he states in order to be effective, council and the general public need to accept there is a finite amount of time and resources and it is necessary to focus efforts on a set of issues which appeal to the majority.
“Jurisdictional issues pose a challenge in some cases, but local government has a strong role in advocating for change at senior levels,” he wrote. “This council is committed to fully engaging with senior government and making sure community concerns are known and addressed.”
Each priority issue will have an action plan with a defined budget and timelines for achieving the actions approved by council. The priorities identified are intended to inform the city’s strategic direction and will result in a new Strategic Plan, which has not been updated since 2016.
During the roundtable, participants also noted what they loved most about Parksville. The beaches, small town atmosphere, climate, the community park, community involvement and volunteers and nature received the most support.
The roundtable report can be found in the agenda for the March 18 council meeting.