Welcome to Sarnia sign at Front St. and Exmouth St. (Sarnia News Today photo by Josh Boyce)Welcome to Sarnia sign at Front St. and Exmouth St. (Sarnia News Today photo by Josh Boyce)

Sarnia council discusses future priorities

Sarnia council outlined some future priorities in a strategic planning session Tuesday morning.

Councillors were asked to write vision statements for the city and discuss the words that resonated with them.

Councillor Anne Marie Gillis noticed some had common themes.

"Innovative, progressive, a leader, vibrant, all of those action words," Gillis said. "It not only touches on the history of our community, but it also recognizes that we are an innovative place. It ties in with the theme that Lambton County has, that we developed."

Councillor Adam Kilner liked the autonomy of creating a statement.

"Being able to say, 'I'm not just going to sit back and let everything around me dictate my future, I'm going to actually have a hand in it myself,'" Kilner said.

"A city that is economically and socially a leader in a changing world... yeah, the world is always changing and we're going to keep our eyes open about how the world is changing around us and also come to the table and say, 'here's what we know is going on. So, what is an appropriate reaction and response?' We're going to do that as a team and we're going to do that as a community."

Councillor Terry Burrell noted that the vision statement adopted previously, 'The Place You Want To Be!,' received zero votes.

"Nobody wants that one now," said Burrell. "To me these types of exercises are very cerebral. I don't know whether these exercises have value in the long run."

A number of councillors identified the desire to work collaboratively, with honesty, integrity and respect.

Asset management and a desire to resolve the housing and homeless situation were also highlighted as priorities.

Erik Lockhart, the facilitator who led the session, said it was the first in a series of conversations to create the roadmap for the next four years.

He said the next step will focus on community engagement with public meetings and surveys.

It's expected a draft strategic plan will be presented to council by mid-July.

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