Cambridge city council approves 2017 annual report; focus on community engagement
“We have had great success over the past year in terms of placing a focus on engagement and community-focused initiatives,” said Mayor Doug Craig “We’re proud to have worked so closely with the community and our partners to best deliver services that are integral to our city’s well-being. From outreach committees to youth engagement, the 2017 annual report speaks to the city’s commitment to more opportunities for the public to participate in decision-making.”
Using the City’s strategic plan as a framework, the annual report presents an overview of 2017’s major projects and initiatives as well as a financial picture of the City and how resources are being used. It provides an open and transparent look at the City’s net worth, total revenue, expenses and reserves.
City Manager Gary Dyke noted that the City saw economic momentum in 2017 as well as significant progress on major projects including the Old Post Office, pedestrian bridge and the new fire station. He also remarked that 2017 was a year of great change internally with a streamlined corporate structure and new technology systems.
“Not only does the annual report serve as a benchmarking tool for the public to measure the City’s progress in terms of larger projects,” he said. “It also provides insight into our internal improvements as we continue to work to make our processes more efficient, effective and accountable.”
The 2017 Annual Report highlights 39 key initiatives undertaken by city departments and their partners last year. The information provided in the report is presented according to the themes and goals outlined in the City’s strategic plan.
• Initiatives focused on community wellbeing and safety such as the creation of the multi-service level Community Outreach Task Force, Community Ambassador Team and award-winning online debris reporting application.
• Increased youth engagement through a series of youth-centred programs and Mayoral roundtables with local youth and youth-based service providers.
• Selection as one of the first of a global network of Local Data Hubs using city data to drive change as part of the World Council on City Data.
• Introduction of live-streaming for City Council meetings to make participation in city decision-making a more accessible processes; as well as open houses at city facilities.
• Multiple environmental initiatives resulting in the planting of more than 520 trees, 300 shrubs and 50,000 flowers; the replacement of 6,500 streetlights with LED fixtures; and a Watershed Award from the Grand River Conservation Area.
• Strong economic growth with more than $367 million in investments, including federal and provincial infrastructure and more than 30 new downtown core businesses throughout Galt, Preston and Hespeler.
• City-wide accessibility upgrades across 10 trails, five playgrounds and the installation of 21 portable ramps at local businesses.
• Significant reductions in lost water for the City of Cambridge through proactive leak detection and innovative repair techniques.
• “Track My Plow” App launch helped communicate with the public during winter storm events with real time mapping of snow plowing and salting
• Growth of the film industry in Cambridge with 45 production inquiries and 16 days of on-site filming including the critically acclaimed series The Handmaid’s Tale; new online story map developed to showcase film locations in the city.