Bancroft council has been working with Bancroft’s Strategic Plan Coordinator Malcolm Hunt this year to complete the town’s strategic plan.
Hunt presented phase three of the plan to council in September. The second-to-last phase went over the Town’s assets, such as the airport, the Loyalist College campus, and the cultural sector that Hunt calls “vibrant.”
“Every community has certain things that position it well,” Hunt says. He adds that there are also weaknesses. “Whether that’s location, geography, limited population size or limited economic activity,” he says. He continues saying that if a Town focuses on their weaknesses, in some cases, it’s things that can’t be changed – like location.
“The message I left with was that there’s a lot of things to mull over in terms of the direction we want to go,” Mayor of Bancroft Paul Jenkins says. He explains that one of the reasons they wanted to bring Hunt in was to take all of the previous work that was done, put that together with what Hunt and his team did to create the plan for council. Jenkins says that this document will be passed over to the next council because he says there will be tasks on the list that we won’t be able to complete during our term. “You can’t jump off half-way through,” Jenkins says.
Hunt says one of Bancroft’s key assets is the availability of “full quality municipal services.” He says that it’s something that positions the Town well for the future. “They are your starting point for moving forward,” Hunt says. He adds that there are also very few cultural assets that rely on the Town for economic support.
Mayor of Bancroft Paul Jenkins points to the town’s water and sewer system as one of their biggest assets. “The fact that we can take development where many municipalities cannot,” he says.
“The work I have done to this point has opened my eyes to the workings of Bancroft from the inside out,” Hunt says. “Just having the time to assimilate the culture of the community, get an idea of the players in the community, find out where development is happening and where it isn’t happening.”
“The wrap-up was putting a lot of these things together to see the readiness of the town to support new growth when new growth arises,” Hunt explains about the next and final phase of the strategic plan. “It’s about putting together a series of steps and action strategies that have deadlines set to them.” While the fourth phase will happen over the next three months, Hunt says he will recommend that the Town puts in play one of its municipally-owned properties to try and bring in an affordable housing developer to use it to build on.
“The ultimate goal is growth,” Jenkins says. He says there are already multiple development projects underway, including one on the grounds of the old Bancroft Public School. “Expenses are already increasing and unless you raise tax rates the only other way is by new assessment,” Jenkins says.
“If you want things to happen, you have to be a player,” Hunt says.