Port Moody has implemented a new public dashboard which allows residents to track the city’s progress on its strategic priorities and projects.
The dashboard, which is available online and updated daily, allows the public to view the status of projects, how close it is to completion, and delays being experienced.
While praising the dashboard’s benefit regarding transparency, Mayor Meghan Lahti said it provides council a tool to track the workload they are giving to staff.
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She said it should focus council on their priorities set out in their 4-year strategic plan, which was endorsed last spring.
“Everybody needs to kind of take a step back and realize how much work we have put on the plates of our employees,” Lahti said. “I think we need to be very, very cognizant of that.
“This is an excellent tool for us, but if we’re not using it the way it’s been designed . . . If we instead just continue to add things to this list, we are not doing ourselves any favors.”
City staff presented council with their first progress report on the corporate project plan on Sept. 5, which shows that staff are working on 112 different projects, 12 strategic goals under four strategic priorities.
The plan is a guiding document that identifies council’s mandates and corresponding objectives
Residents can now go online to see that the official community plan (OCP) update is 70 percent complete, or that the master plan update for Rocky Point Park is 50 percent complete, or that the implementation of an industrial land strategy has not yet begun.
Progress on smaller projects can also be viewed, as well any disruptions or holds.
For instance, a hotel feasibility study is 50 percent complete, but it has been flagged as having some disruptions.
“If you haven’t had a chance to actually navigate this thing, it’s pretty cool to be able to see exactly what’s going on with council, what’s on our plan, where staff are at with their progress, percentage wise, whether there’s some disruption and why it’s coming up,” said Coun. Callan Morrison.
As of Sept. 18, staff are reporting a 27 percent completion rating, with over 67 percent of projects on track, around 10 percent experiencing some delay or hold, 2 percent completed and around 21 percent yet to be started.
An example of the dashboard’s utility for council came up during the meeting.
Coun. Kyla Knowles expressed concern over a project reviewing the potential for implementing paid-parking around the city.
The project has been folded into the larger revenue diversification strategy, which is only 5 percent complete, and projected to be complete by the end of 2024.
Staff said that they had hired an outside consultant to take a city-wide review on the topic, broadening the scope of the work.
“I really think it warrants attention,” Knowles said. “I brought this up in the spring, we’re now heading into fall.”
“Parking relates to climate action, revenue, traffic, access to recreation, turnover for business. And I really feel we’ve waited long enough for this issue.”
Lahti assured Knowles it would be put on the next agenda of the strategic planning committee.
Coun. Diana Dilworth said many on council are passionate about certain projects, but the city can only have so many high priority projects, “or staff are just going to be spinning.”
She said she appreciated where staff have looked to combine priorities.
“I think as part of future strategic priority committee meetings, if we’re going to put something as a new number one or number two (priority), we have to tell staff what they can take off that list,” Dilworth said.
Lahti’s concern regarding council overloading staff was highlighted later during the meeting.
Angie Parnell, the general manager of corporate services, provided recommendations to amend the city’s corporate policy, tightening how individual councillors introduce motions to council.
Councillors will now need to specify the urgency of a motion, as well as how it aligns with council’s strategic priorities and how it could potentially fit into an existing project underway.
“What can happen is staff can go away with an understanding with respect to where things are prioritized, and council may have a different view,” Parnell said. “We are really hoping to continue to refine your opportunity to make effective decisions about project prioritization.”