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Didsbury residents asked to weigh in on town's future through survey

Consultant hired to lead Town of Didsbury council in the development of an updated strategic plan for the municipality

DIDSBURY - An online survey being conducted by the Town of Didsbury aims to garner public input as part of the process of updating the municipality’s strategic plan.

Open until Oct. 19, the survey seeks input on such things as strategic priorities, municipal priorities, investment attraction and infrastructure development.

The town has contracted the consulting firm Rynic to lead council through a strategic planning process that will ultimately result in the development of an updated Town of Didsbury strategic plan later this year, said Nicole Aasen, manager of community service.

“The information gathered from respondents will be utilized during upcoming strategic planning sessions with council in late October, and will provide them with data that will assist them in setting priorities, goals and plans for the future of Didsbury for the next 15 years,” Aasen told the Albertan.

“The community survey that has been issued to the public is the first step in this process, and it is imperative that Didsbury residents and business owners take some time to complete the survey to ensure their feedback is recorded.”

One section of the survey asks residents to provide input on what they would like to see Didsbury known for 15 years from now.

Options include agri-food production, tourism and film, outdoor recreation, industrial centre, shopping/dining/commercial service, low business costs, sports and recreation, housing choices and environmental initiative leadership.

Respondents are asked to identify the three biggest challenges facing Didsbury going forward.

Respondents are asked to prioritize town needs such as public safety and protection, strong governance and administration, financial management and accountability, economic development, public works - infrastructure, recreation, parks, arts and culture, and community development and planning.

Another section asks respondents to rate the importance of core services such as housing, health and wellness services, childcare, emergency services, environment, recreation, communication, business retention, community safety, social services and supports, beautification initiatives, local industrial land supply/development, marketing, architecture, and infrastructure assets.

Respondents are also asked about recreation and other municipal facilities that may need enhancement going forward, including expanding the swimming pool, expanding the indoor arena, fitness centre, gymnasium, spray park community centre, BMX track, skateboard park, golf course, pickleball courts, expanded library, and performing arts centre.

As well, respondents are asked, “Thinking about present and future needs, which of the following tax strategies do you support most over the next five years: maintain current level of services and facilities, enhance level of service and facilities, or reduce service and facilities.

Respondents are asked what council priorities should be going forward, including in areas such as family, community and youth support programs, culture programming and facilities, park maintenance and development, beautification of park paces, public improvements to downtown, cultural and recreation events and festivals, road maintenance, snow removal, and economic development program.

Another section asks respondent in roughly 50 words to describe their vision for the future of the Town of Didsbury.

“This critical (survey) process ensures that work done now leaves a legacy of success for future residents of our community,” said Aasen.

The complete survey is available on the Town of Didsbury’ website.

Dan Singleton

About the Author: Dan Singleton

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