Perth County Council welcomed the president of Interthink Consulting on February 20th to clarify some parts of their strategic plan.
Mark Mullaly said one of the areas that council wanted to clarify was the goal of helping to develop and implement more affordable housing, and what that means from their perspective.
"I think it's a question of the role that the county plays in terms of being able to do that, versus the individual municipalities that are actually responsible for the overseeing of their communities, as well," he said.
Mullaly also says it comes down to what the county wants to do or enact, and what sort of supports do they need from member municipalities in order to ensure more affordable and attainable housing is available. He said the goal of developing and implementing more affordable housing is a key goal in terms of things like youth retention.
"It's about policies that actually encourage the development of diverse, more dense housing forms where you have duplexes, you have townhouses, you have condominiums, you have apartments."
With youth retention also being a key goal of the plan, Mullaly noted that it's important to make housing options available for young people who want to stay in the area all the way up to seniors looking to retire or downsize.
Another section of the plan that councillors wanted to clarify was the section regarding volunteerism and activism. Mullaly said in their effort to gather input from residents, they heard a similar theme from everyone.
"We went through an extensive engagement process with all the communities, and one of the things that came out loud and clear from residents, service groups and even from businesses was that one of the things they value about their communities was volunteerism, community involvement and community participation."
Mullaly said while the county itself doesn't rely on volunteers to provide services, the communities within the lower-tier municipalities do sometimes, and they want to encourage that while also making it a county-wide goal to get more youth involved.
"There are concerns about that in terms of the sustainability of that. They look at volunteer groups where they see many of the same faces, and those faces are getting older. There's concerns about the commitment and willingness of youth to be able to volunteer and contribute to the community, as well."
The Perth County Strategic Plan, as Mullaly points out, does contain some guiding principles regarding encouraging youth and other residents to consider becoming more active in their communities. Perth County Council approved the final draft of the strategic plan, and they'll vote to adopt it at their next meeting.