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Council sets priorities for 2014-2018

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Frequently Asked Questions about Trust Council’s Strategic Plan

What is a strategic plan?

What is the difference between a strategic task and a core operation?

Does the Islands Trust have a strategic plan now?

Why develop a new strategic plan?

How does the Islands Trust create a strategic plan?

What’s the difference between a goal, an objective, a strategy and an activity?

What are the Islands Trust’s long term goals?

What’s an example of a strategic objective?

Why is advocacy part of the strategic plan? Isn’t the Islands Trust just a land use planning agency?

What does this have to do with my local trust committee / island municipality?

Why should I get involved?

What will happen to my ideas?

What does strategic planning cost?

 

Q: What is a strategic plan?

A strategic plan sets out what an organization wants to achieve over the next few years and how it's going to get there. It focuses on new projects and making changes and improvements, rather than on maintaining core operations, which continue regardless. A strategic plan allows an organization to achieve more by focusing finite resources on its top priorities. It guides budget decisions, work programs and staffing.
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Q: What is the difference between a strategic task and a core operation?

Maintaining our existing website is an example of a core operation. However, redesigning and launching a new website is a strategic task, designed to achieve Council’s objective of improving communications with the public.
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Q: Does the Islands Trust have a strategic plan now?

Yes. Trust Council adopts a strategic plan each term and adopted the current one in 2011 . Based on our provincial Object, Council identifies key goals and objectives for the medium-to-long term, along with strategies for achieving each objective. For each strategy, the strategic plan identifies detailed activities, timelines and resource needs. The plan assigns responsibility for each activity and defines how progress will be measured. Trust Council receives quarterly progress reports on each activity in its strategic plan.
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Q: Why develop a new strategic plan?

With each new term of office, islanders elect trustees with new ideas about how to fulfill the legislated mandate of the Islands Trust. Although work continues on some activities in last term’s strategic plan, the Islands Trust has achieved many of those objectives. New objectives are now emerging or becoming more important. The strategic planning process allows trustees to debate their priorities and to agree upon specific and realistic goals for what to accomplish during their term.
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Q: How does the Islands Trust create a strategic plan?

The Islands Trust follows a process common to many organizations, beginning with a mission and some long-term goals. The Islands Trust mission is the same as its provincial mandate, defined by the Islands Trust Act. Trust Council adopted its goals when it adopted the Islands Trust Policy Statement. Each term, Trust Council identifies objectives and strategies to help it achieve those goals. Council is involving you in setting the priorities for this term. This diagram outlines the process.
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Q: What’s the difference between a goal, an objective, a strategy and an activity?

Goals, objectives and strategies can be easily confused. A goal describes WHAT you want to achieve, over a long period and usually doesn’t change much over time. An objective also describes WHAT you want to accomplish, but is a smaller piece of a larger goal. A strategy describes HOW you could achieve your objectives. To give an example that people might be more familiar with, imagine you have a goal to visit every province and territory in Canada. You might then set some short term objectives – like visiting Newfoundland in 2015, and Saskatchewan in 2016. To achieve your first objective, you could then develop a strategy to fly to Newfoundland for a three-week visit. Your strategy might include individual activities like saving for air fare, booking a flight, and arranging accommodations. Once you had visited Newfoundland, you could then focus on your next objective of visiting Saskatchewan. Read our glossary if you want to learn more about the words we use in strategic planning.
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Q: What are the Islands Trust’s long term goals?

The Islands Trust has three major goals that are described in the Islands Trust Policy Statement:
- To Preserve and Protect Ecosystems
- To Steward Island Resources
- To Sustain Island Character and Healthy Communities
A fourth overarching goal relates to how we work towards those goals for this term. Trust Council is suggesting a strategic focus on ‘Effective, efficient and collaborative governance’. Different parts of the Islands Trust have different tools for achieving those goals. For example, local trust committees can use land use planning and regulatory tools or encourage voluntary stewardship. Trust Council can work to influence other levels of government. The Islands Trust Fund Board can seek donations of land, covenants, and cash to support Islands Trust’s conservation goals.

 

Q: What’s an example of a strategic objective?

Here’s one example of how the Islands Trust might work toward healthy communities. Trust Council could set an objective of protecting and restoring socio-economic diversity in the Trust area. To achieve that objective, it could adopt a strategy of increasing the supply of affordable housing. This strategy could be achieved through a number of activities, such as a local trust committee amending its bylaws to approve zoning for seniors’ housing complexes. While Trust Council may suggest several over-all objectives, local trust committees are autonomous governance bodies that determine which priorities are most important to their island communities.
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Q: Why is advocacy part of the strategic plan? Isn’t the Islands Trust just a land use planning agency?

Each part of the Islands Trust works towards the mandate with different tools. Land use planning and regulation is the responsibility of the thirteen local trust committees and Bowen Island Municipality. The Islands Trust Act also gives the Islands Trust Council the responsibility for advocating on behalf of islanders by making recommendations about our mandate to other levels of government. In recent years, Trust Council has responded to islanders’ requests by increasing its capacity to do this work. Some examples of recent advocacy work include representations about ferry fares, oil spill hazards and derelict vessels. There are more examples under Chair correspondence and news releases. You can subscribe to e-mail updates on all these topics and more.
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Q: What does this have to do with my local trust committee / island municipality?

Local trust committees and Bowen Island Municipality have their own priorities for local projects. Trust Council’s strategic priorities do not dictate what those local priorities should be. Instead, Council's priorities focus on challenges common to several island communities. By working together, sharing knowledge and dedicating resources to address common issues, individual island communities can achieve better results. A trust-wide strategic plan based on local public consultation is one tool Trust Council has to achieve local goals.
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Q: Why should I get involved?

Because you care about your island, your community and the wider region. Your feedback makes Trust Council aware of the most important community concerns.
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Q: What happens to my ideas?

Your ideas become part of a public meeting package going to Trust Council and its standing committees. Trustees carefully consider all input during these meetings before adopting the strategic plan for the 2014-2018 term. Once the most important objectives and strategies are adopted, Trust Council will consider more detailed activities, timelines, resource needs and progress measures. Council will continue to welcome input on amending its strategic plan over the course of its term. Trust Council’s strategic objectives may require new budget allocations on a one-year or ongoing basis and these would be debated as part of the annual budget cycle.
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Q: What does strategic planning cost?

Trust Council primarily undertakes its strategic planning process with assistance from existing staff and minimal assistance from external contractors. Public consultation and related advertising will cost about $2,500 this year. If Trust Council decides that it wants to carry out strategies that require new resources on a one-year or on-going basis, trustees would debate this as part of the annual budget cycle, after hearing public views on the topic. Having a strategic plan saves tax dollars in the long run, by keeping Trust Council focussed on its spending priorities.
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Page last updated: 01/10/15
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