Public Survey results imperative to planning

The County of Paintearth conducted a survey in December designed to collect important feedback from residents on programs and services offered by the County.

The survey was also meant to help council get an idea for how to move forward and plan for the future.

In total, 208 surveys were filled out.

Council did accept the strategic plan during their regular meeting on Tues. April 2.

In February, council completed a facilitated strategic planning retreat to organize for the future of the community.

“Your survey feedback was a major consideration when discussing future projects and initiatives,” said Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michael Simpson in his package to council.

Many areas scored over 75 per cent when it came to these services.

The results explained that many residents feel safe in the county and it provides well-maintained parks and community-owned facilities.

It showed that there is a high level of satisfaction when it comes to recreation, waste management, emergency services, and citizen/families in need services.

All areas of the survey as noted by CAO Simpson for municipal services scored well with 65 per cent or more of respondents expressing satisfaction with current service delivery.

Only four areas scored under 75 per cent and that is what was identified as key areas to improve on.

Road maintenance, utility services, planning and development services were in need of more attention.

Some residents felt that county administration is not run well and that they do not have a great reputation in the community.

There were some respondents that feel this municipality is not financially run well.

CAO Simpson noted the dissatisfaction with the pace of economic development in the area and that council is not acting in the best interests of the community.

In other words, not being transparent with the public.

Because of this feedback, council was able to come up with some new strategic objectives for the future including things like developing a water and sewer infrastructure plan, transportation master plan, updating county water and sewer bylaws and accompanying fees, review the county’s RCMP support arrangement with urban partners, and develop and adopt a fire services bylaw.

The 2019 strategic plan includes the objectives of completing a service capacity and staffing level review, developing and adopting a long-term financial plan, developing and adopting a professional development policy for elected officials, updating the county’s template and process for CAO performance reviews, completing terms of reference for committees, and lastly, exploring options and adopting a strategy to enhance population growth.

Library seeing membership increase

Val Cornell and library manager Chelsea Peacock of the Coronation Library gave Paintearth County council an update on their 2018 statistics.

Overall, numbers were trending higher than in previous years, especially when it came to library card memberships.

Each year since 2015 when they started recording this data, card holders went up.

They gained 92 new card holders in 2018 as libraries no longer charge for services as they can be viewed as restrictive and a barrier to more education.

The library held 32 more programs than 2017 and had a large increase of 184 participants.

For long term care patients, the library has developed a mobile library for long-term care patients who can no longer visit the library. Peacock even mentioned they have made house calls before.

Hard work paid off for the library as they were able to raise $3,606 by holding their silent auction which brought in the most cash, paint night, and markets/weddings.

The tomato plant sale, unfortunately, did not bring in over $100.

For additional costs, the library has prided itself on modern and diverse resources including the new 3D printing machine.

They also spent much of their time this past year removing and updating outdated items and supplies.

The library has set the bar by committing to having the early literacy program they offer have a 20 per cent increase in all children programs by 2024.

Teenagers seem to be the hardest to attract to the library so they have identified that as a key goal as well. They hope to make a 50 per cent increase in attendance within five years.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Avatar

ECA Review Publisher