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CONTRIBUTION · 2nd November 2011
Steve Connolly
If the citizens of Kitimat were polled, it is most probable that the vast majority would agree that the highest priority for the Municipal Council is to permanently restore community vitality, re-open closed schools, improve funding for health services, fill empty store locations, houses, etc. The obvious strategy, therefore, would be to find ways to increase the population to a certain level within a specific timeframe.

Let’s say, for example, that a goal was established to achieve a population increase of 2,000 residents within four years. Tactically, let’s also say that ‘economic development
authorities' would be assigned the task to achieve 75% of this goal, i.e. 1,500 new residents, by creating about 375 new, permanent, manufacturing jobs, each job bringing with it family members and service industry people of three additional residents. About 94 new manufacturing jobs per year would be required.

The Retire-In-Kitimat group, say, would be assigned the task of achieving 25% of this goal by attracting 500 new retiree residents over the next four years. This would mean adding 125 new retiree residents per year.

To achieve the above, it would be paramount to organize people and resources that are clearly adequate to ensure that the goal is given every chance to succeed. Leadership would need to be provided to establish responsibility and accountability. Regular status reporting to the community, such as is done for the United Way Campaign, relative to progress towards the goal, would be demonstrated.

This is the way serious, big business achieves results. This is the way Rio Tinto Alcan has been successful. While the numbers chosen above can be debated, I believe that most Kitimat citizens would be delighted to view their municipal council demonstrating a real business-like approach as depicted above.

Compare the results achieved, relative to the above example-goal, over the past two years since the closure of Eurocan. You know the answer. The goal is, indeed, a difficult one … but it is a hopeless one without a realistic and organized approach to achieve it. Absolute radical management change is immediately required … or, let’s face it, achieving town vitality will not happen, especially after the RTA building bubble bursts.
In the midst of this bubble, there are still three times as many houses for sale as for in 2008.

If achieving town vitality is indeed the top priority, then planning, budget development, action and spending should demonstrate such. The City of Elliot Lake has achieved great success by doing this. You cannot achieve a priority if you don’t define one in the first place, and … you cannot fail to clearly meet an objective if you don’t first set one. Politicians feel comfortable without setting goals … they can’t easily be held accountable … and each one will blame the others for lack of (immeasurable) progress, as is the case now.

Not a single member of the council, current or future, has experience to have rescued a town’s economy. For starters, money is required to seek help from experts who have done so. Organization(s), plans, and action to achieve serious revitalization, will require far, far greater funding which, by ignorance, has not been identified or acted upon. Shipping out money to support Shames Mountain is only one example of having lost sight of the forest, while being buried in the trees.

Oblivious to their negative performance, almost all of the current council members are election candidates. They feel that they did a good job … because they purposely had not set up goals whereby their performance could have been clearly measured. However, they are fully accountable for their dysfunction and lack of professional attention to revitalization. This is an undeniable fact … as angrily felt by the majority of citizens. Yet, sadly also, 60% of eligible voters will not vote in the upcoming election.

Foolishness is repeating the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. Voters really need to assure themselves that they choose people who will make town revitalization a top priority, who will get professional help to do so and who will focus taxpayer’s money on this priority. Is there a single candidate who has outlined how they intend to achieve this?

Hoping for a miracle won’t work … you need to create one … otherwise, “Que sera sera”.

Good luck, everyone.

Steve Connolly
(former Kitimat resident)
Que sera sera
Comment by Leon Dumstrey-SooS on 7th November 2011

To REVITALIZE COMMUNITY one needs PEOPLE INVESTMENT and above all POSITIVE ECONOMIC CLIMATE!!!!!!
Our Community LEADERSHIP does not understand what it means! As well as many others are ignorant to the fact.
PEOPLE NEED JOBS TO COME HERE. !!!!!!!
INVESTMENTS= JOBS & TAXES
Jobs = FAMILIES with CHILDREN and Others!
In turn = EDUCCATION(SCHOOLS),HEALTH CARE and other SERVICES!
There IS/WAS an DOCUMENTARY TV PROGRAM " WHEN WE ARE GONE"!!
Watch it
Perhaps it may help many to come out of this MESS ,stay for a while and MULTIPLY, INVEST and CREATE JOBS and get the JOB .