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District of Port Hardy wins national municipal innovation award for its corporate planning project

The District of Port Hardy has designed and implemented an integrated systems approach…
District of Port Hardy municipal signage. (North Island Gazette file photo)

The District of Port Hardy received national recognition for its Systems Based Corporate Planning effort from the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators (CAMA). The municipality was presented with the 2023 CAMA Willis Award for Innovation, in the under 20,000-population category, during an Awards of Excellence Ceremony held today.

“CAMA is pleased to recognize The District of Port Hardy for the municipal excellence demonstrated by their Systems Based Corporate Planning effort,” said Bev Hendry, CAMA President and CAMA Member-At-Large (For Municipalities with Populations Under 100,000) and CAO for the Township of West Lincoln, ON. “The District’s approach to municipal administration is innovative, creative, and will ensure consistency across departments.”

A common challenge for local government is managing an administrative system that both effectively and efficiently integrates the many dimensions of council strategic planning, budgeting, cross-departmental planning, and progress reporting. It is not uncommon for these associated processes to work against each other.

The District of Port Hardy has designed and implemented an integrated systems approach to managing corporate planning and budgeting. A systems-based approach is a method based on the structural and functional context pertaining to how each department “system” operates independently, but also how it interacts with other ones in the District. At the core is its reliance on drawing from each sustainability policy realm of the Official Community Plan.

By bringing together council strategic planning and budgeting with budgeting and planning across all departments, the municipality can address priorities with consistency and objectivity.

This has resulted in an optimized administrative process that is manageable, measurable, and politically defensible.

This system process designed by the District of Port Hardy employs an integrated, systematic, and long-term approach to the corporate planning and budgeting process that is supported by feedback loops and quarterly reporting.

This regular progress monitoring ensures consistency in cross-departmental work plans, and is also scaled relative to internal capacity, ensuring that the system will continue to meet the needs of the municipality over time.

“This approach ensures that our Strategic Plan aligns with the Official Community Plan,” said Port Hardy Mayor Pat Corbett-Labatt. “Council can then consider emerging challenges and opportunities within the financial plan and provide direction to Administration on measurable deliverables reported back to Council regularly. We are excited and proud to be recognized by CAMA for this award but appreciate all the hard work of all those who entered.”

“For decades, the CAMA Awards of Excellence have recognized the achievements of local governments and their senior staff in the development and implementation of successful programs, projects or services,” said Vince Lalonde, Chair of the 2023 CAMA Awards, as well as CAMA Board Representative for British Columbia and City Manager for the City of Surrey, BC. “This year we received 35 award submissions. Congratulations to the winners and everyone who took the time to enter the awards program.”

To find out more about The District of Port Hardy’s award, as well as the other 2023 CAMA Awards of Excellence winners, go and visit the website and look for the award recipients’ link.

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