Kingston City Council to set 2023-26 strategic planning process

On Tuesday night, Kingston City Council will receive information on the process and timelines for developing the 2023-26 Strategic Plan. Kingstonist file photo.

At its meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022, Kingston City Council will receive a report from City staff on the proposed process and timelines for the development of the 2023-2026 Strategic Plan. The process gives councillors an opportunity to set their strategic priorities for the new term, while allowing staff to develop a plan to realize those goals.

The report circulating ahead of Tuesday’s meeting recommends that the strategic planning process includes “fiscal targets as well as guiding principles, such as organizational capacity and public engagement.” The report also states that planning sessions should be conducted in a “Committee of the Whole” format, which will allow all councillors to participate equally in establishing their priorities. Staff are recommending that members of the City’s corporate management team, as well as the CEO of Utilities Kingston, be present at the sessions in order to provide clarification for councillors.

“The upcoming strategic planning session will provide members of Council, as a group, the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussion on a full scope of topics over the course of three days. The primary objective is to enable all Council members to engage with their colleagues on a host of ideas and thoughts to form a consensus on priorities for the Council term,” the report adds. Once Council sets its strategic priorities, City staff will develop an implementation plan to clearly lay out how the various priorities will be met. Staff are recommending a facilitator oversee the entire process, and that public engagement takes place prior to the official strategic planning sessions.

The report also contains a list of proposed steps for the strategic planning process, along with the suggested month in which each step should be completed. First off, Council will need to issue a Request for Proposal in order to select a facilitator, which is set to occur sometime in January or February of next year. Step two will see City staff carry out a public engagement process, which will also take place throughout January and February.

The official strategic planning sessions are set to occur over three days in March 2023, and will be open to members of the public. The exact dates for the sessions are still to be determined. By April or May, staff will prepare the official implementation plan, which will go to Council for final approval. If all goes according to schedule, the 2023-26 Strategic Plan should be set by May 2023, according to the City.

For the last month, City staff have been providing orientation to councillors, bringing them up to speed on information relevant to the strategic planning process, such as City governance and affordable housing. In the months ahead, staff are planning additional sessions to ensure that councillors have all the relevant information they require before embarking on the official strategic planning process. Upcoming sessions will cover Utilities Kingston, local tourism, and climate leadership, among other topics.

At a meeting on Nov. 10, 2022, staff updated the outgoing Council on the overall progress of the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan. All of the initiatives outlined in the previous plan were completed by the end of the last Council term, or are currently on track for completion, with the exception of items that were directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to City documents.

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