So what DID happen to Vision 2020?


Vision 2020 logo

I asked the above question in my first post on this subject “Whatever happened to Vision 2020?” So what did happen to it? You may ask.

I’ll start to answer that question with a question of my own. Who do you think said of Vision 2020 “It was all those NEW people in town that gave input into this study”. Let me give you a couple of clues. The person is very good with a pair of ribbon cutting scissors. In council chambers her voice when confronted tends to sound like chalk on a blackboard and talks to any detractors like she is admonishing the naughty kids at the back of the class. Yes that’s right our stuck in the 80’s figure head of a mayor. Even though nothing could be farther from the truth. Marg told me in an email last weekend. “There were literally 50 pounds of survey responses from residents, that stacked several feet high and over 18,000 sentences that came in and had to be analyzed! Certainly, the people had spoken.” So when you see downtown and notice very little has changed in the way business gets done down there, look no further than Sandra Cooper. Since this blue print was completed she has been Deputy Mayor twice and Mayor, so she would have quite a big say in which direction the town goes in.
Another issue was that although Terry Geddes originally commissioned this report, as soon as it was released he lost interest in it . Maybe he did not share the vision that was being promoted or maybe he had his attention focused on other things. One of the final emails that was sent out by then chair Rob Thorburn:

Mayor and Members of Council,

On May 5, 2005 members of Vision 2020 met to review the status of the Committee’s activities since inception and to formulate a recommendation as to future activity.

Since that time, we met again and have had numerous discussions to consolidate our input for you which necessitated time in researching the best options available. Truthfully, we waited over 18 months to hear from council and personally, my own numerous calls to Mayor Geddes on this topic were never returned. We did not realize that a short time frame had now been imposed for a response back to council. We prefer to give you a thoughtful and workable response based on both our own experiences on the committee and on the best practices of other communities who have engaged in similar projects.

Based on our review, it is the overwhelming consensus of the former members of the Vision 2020 Committee that the body has maximized its effectiveness as a Committee of Council comprised of community volunteers.

We believe that to continue to make a vital contribution to the community, Vision 2020 must be expanded beyond the auspices of Council to become an arm’s length, self-incorporated body with a mandate to continue the work of Vision 2020, which would include:

 Re-education/validation of the Vision 2020 mandate in the community at large;
 Implementation of the Community Indicators scheme to measure change and predict needs with both input and feedback to and from the Municipality and community at large.
 Complete a “check-up” and evaluation of progress to date in implementing recommendations and, proactively work to facilitate implementation of other recommendations as appropriate within both the Town and wider community.

This new organization would necessarily need to employ a full-time specialist. For this reason, it is recommended the new body be provided with 2 years worth of transitional funding to prepare a business plan and a plan of action, including the identification of future sources of funding and, commence all of the activities as defined above.

The former members of Vision 2020 are as committed as ever to the advancement of the quality of life and sustainability of this community through community consultation at the grass roots level. However the experience of other communities that have embarked on initiatives like Vision 2020 has been that eventually the implementing organizations must break from the political forum if they are truly to remain as community-driven initiatives. We urge Council to commit the resources including those that have already been allocated to Vision 2020 as well as additional required transitional dollars to facilitate the creation of a new Vision 2020 implementing body under the title of Action 2020, a name that truly embodies the role of the new organization. Some members of the former Vision 2020 committee are prepared to maintain roles on the Board of Directors of a new Action 2020 implementing body.

As former volunteers with untold hours and commitment invested in developing the Vision 2020 Blueprint, we do have concerns about council’s current consideration of establishing a new committee of council called Sustainability 2040. We are in total agreement that sustainability is and should be one of the most important priorities. We must however point out emphatically that the Vision 2020 Blueprint already provides exactly that. We feel energies should be committed to implementing and updating the plan that already exists rather than starting from scratch and/or reinventing the wheel. It’s time to move forward with a real and workable action strategy.

We propose to appear before Council at the earliest opportunity to publicly outline this proposal and to answer questions from council, Staff and the public at large.

Yours truly,

Rob Thorburn,
Former Chair, Vision 2020

So there you have it; these people that had put thousands of hours into this thing were completely ignored by town council for 18 months.

The following is an inside look at who was and was not interested in moving forward with this plan:

Terry Geddes – Non-supportive.
Sandra Cooper – Non-supportive..
Rick Lloyd – Non-supportive.
Chris Carrier – Was on the board of Vision 2020 and a few of the items that were actually followed through on were done on his watch as Mayor.
Norman Sandberg – Was supportive
Kathy Jeffery – Was supportive with provisos
Sonny Foley – Was supportive.
Joe Gardhouse – Was neither supportive or non-supportive. But he can correct me on that if he wishes.
Gretta Gill – This thing was done and dusted by the time she took Joes place on council.
Ian Chadwick – Was originally supportive but after he pissed everyone off on the committee as apparently he apt to do on most committees he is on, (possibly with the exception of the ukulele committee) was non-supportive.

I only harp on about this ancient history because as I quoted in an earlier post “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it in the future”. We had, as a town, a well-crafted, well laid out plan for the future. Certain people who are stuck with the view that this town is still an industrial factory town (which it no longer is or ever will be again) decided to ignore the wishes of the townsfolk and proceed without any vision at all. Some of those same people will want your vote in October of this year.

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2 thoughts on “So what DID happen to Vision 2020?

  1. It is so invigorating to re-visit Vision 2020, First of all, because it was such an unprecedented, positive engagement of our community, which we lack today, and secondly because the findings and recommendations are still valid today. There is no reason why the follow up recommendations of the Vision 2020 Committee could not be implemented today, ie., Re-education/validation of the Vision 2020 mandate in the community at large and implementation of the Community Indicators scheme; Yes, it would require a commitment of resources – staff and budget. But I believe it would go a long way toward re-energizing us as a community and give us a strategy to follow in all our future planning. .

  2. 1) The problem has been the last three councils not just the present one.
    2) You showed Geddes council support / nonsupport five showed support that a majority on council. So why did nothing happen?
    3) Admiral Collingwood plan was to move a major retailer and major bank to Hume and Hurontario. Now that major retailer is on First Street, a major draw to downtown. Now we have fenced hole, now that what I call attractive. Past council
    4) The library was previous council claim to fame. How is red brick building historical looking?
    5) Provincial Government was going help fund a new Rec Centre. Money was withdrawn who fault?
    6) Federal government and provincial funded $1,000,000 for cover soccer field for 150 private school kids with support previous council. Would not been better served for whole town. ( if we had a new 2030 plan)
    7) Our present council build a bandaid one over pool the other over rink.

    Our next council should be a new mayor, a new deputy mayor, a new councilors, no experience required previous member need not apply.

    Do I agree with everything in Vision 2020 no, it did seem to have good foundation.

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