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Strategic Plan Informs All Aspects Of City Operations, Says Mayor

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Mayor Allen Dowhan looked not only at the present, but into the future with a focus on Dauphin’s new strategic plan during his annual State of the City Address last week.

Broadcasting on the Dauphin and District Chamber of Commerce’s (DDCC) Facebook page, May 11, Dowhan told those tuned in the strategic plan will help shape the community’s future.

“Both council and staff are committed to align all important decisions to the strategic plan,” Dowhan said in introducing the document. “Our strategic plan is so valuable to our operations that the format of the rest of the presentation follows the goals and priorities outlined in the plan.”

In dealing with the present, Dowhan ran down how the plan’s goal of building a sustainable community is being reached through city operations highlighting decreases in property tax, greater savings in reserve funds, reduced debt and increased spending on infrastructure, as examples of sustainability.

“Solid financial stewardship by following financial benchmarks, value-added spending engaged staff and operational efficiencies,” he said, running down this year’s Public Works infrastructure spending amounting to more than $1.4 million. “In summary it’s a busy year.”

The city’s sustainability is also evident in diversion centre plans underway at the Dauphin landfill site, projects such as the electric vehicle charger installed in the city hall parking lot and the city’s Climate Smart certification, Dowhan said.

“We are verifying if we are the only (community) in Manitoba (to be certified),” Dowhan said. “The certification positions us well for any climate smart grants.”

In the area of community growth, Dowhan highlighted a recent $714,600 grant from the province for affordable housing projects.

“Our city team has been diligently working with stakeholders across the private sector and our non-profit community determining solutions for affordable and available housing in the City of Dauphin,” he said. “The city is actively working towards determining the best use of this funding in our community.”

In addition new incentives for developers are being explored, as is partnerships with Regional Connections Immigrant Services, The Hub and DDCC in an effort to ensure the entrepreneur sector continues to thrive in Dauphin.

“It seems like every week I hear a new story of a new entrepreneur starting up,” Dowhan said.
Finally, Dowhan said the City has joined with the Rural Municipality of Dauphin and together the two municipalities are embarking on an aggressive marketing campaign focussing on the Dauphin Business Park. The hope is to attract new businesses, particularly in the agricultural sector in areas such as plant-based protein and hemp processing.

In the area of public engagement and awareness, the city is active on social media, Dowhan said citing YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as platforms on which the City is active.
“We are constantly sharing stories and information on our community,” he said.

The New Resident Program and the Visitor Guide are other ways the municipal government keeps in touch with the public and also tie into the goal of promoting tourism and recreation, Dowhan added.
The 2021 Visitor’s Guide is currently being printed for provincial distribution.

“Last week Travel Manitoba listed Northgate Trails as one of the top 10 things to do in Manitoba,” he said. “This year we are featuring Northgate Dauphin to include a ‘Ride the Region’ campaign, enticing visitors to not only come and visit what Dauphin has to offer, but extend their stay in Dauphin and visit all the multi-use playgrounds we have in our part of the province.”

A place branding exercise is also currently underway with an eye on increasing tourism. In the final area of safe and healthy communities, Dowhan is proud of the city’s safe walking and biking trail system, which will be extended down First Avenue SE this year, as well as a planned redevelopment of the tennis courts at Meadowlark Park.

“Those who stare at the past have their backs turned to the future,” Dowhan said, quoting an anonymous source.