Presentation Highlights May 11, 2011
Highlights from Inspiring Innisfil Presentation at Special Council Meeting, May 11, 2011
Presentation by Dr. Bob Woodburn, Tony Leighton and Karma Brown on Inspiring Innisfil 2020.
Dr. Woodburn thanked Innisfil for the spirit and commitment of the community during the entire process to date. He described his approach to strategic planning that includes building execution into the strategy from the beginning. He stated that Innisfil is at an urgent crossroads. He said that Innisfil is viewed as not being a cohesive place after the amalgamation of smaller communities and the province is resistant to recognizing it as the greater community it represents. Dr. Woodburn stated that the best way to prevent being overlooked is to make a dramatic change to the way Innisfil is perceived. Through the studies proposed by Inspiring Innisfil 2020, Innisfil will transform to allow for more local jobs, more tourism, and a sense of community throughout the entire municipality.
Dr. Woodburn spoke about the importance of implementing the plan that was drafted from the approximately 1,000 (one thousand) responses during the public consultation period. He explained that although the report is an 80 (eighty) page document, with 27 (twenty-seven) main strategies and 170 (one hundred and seventy) actions; the plan must be approached starting with a handful of top priorities; otherwise, the sheer size and timeline of the Inspiring Innisfil 2020 Report could intimidate the project into being shelved.
He introduced his strategy titled “Dream With a Deadline”, which is demonstrated through a house diagram. Dr. Woodburn described how establishing your dream as the roof of the house, you could then fill in the keyways, pillars, and foundation, with the goals, actions, and attitudes to help support the dream statement. He then passed the presentation onto his colleague, Mr. Leighton, to drill down into each section.
Mr. Leighton started with the dream statement: “The place to be by 2020”. He explained that this statement implies that there will be more residents, more jobs, more tourism, and become a more appealing place to be.
He identified the four major Key Ways to achieving the dream statement as:
- Community – Improve our quality of like dramatically;
- Tourism – make Innisfil a desirable destination;
- Culture – Make arts, culture, and heritage major community assets; and
- Economics – Help all businesses succeed here.
Under each Key Way, Mr. Leighton listed three to five action items to help achieve the statement within the Key Way.
He then pinpointed five supporting behaviours needed to create a solid foundation including: Trust above all;
Bold new ideas;
Leadership that aims higher;
One-step-ahead planning; and
Unified hard work.
Finally, he finished with the Community pillar and unveiled five Community Key Way action items including the suggestion to rename the Town of Innisfil. Mr. Leighton described how Council and the consultants had arrived at this suggestion, noting “Sometimes while solving a small problem, you suddenly arrive at an idea that might change the game entirely — which solves both the small problem and many larger ones. That happened when we were mulling over changing the name of “Alcona” to “Innisfil” – to create an urban center. Making that change would solve the problem of Innisfil, the town, having an identifiable centre. That’s was a small problem.
The larger opportunity — with all sorts of positive implications — is to take the bold step of changing the name of “Innisfil” itself. There are number of reasons to change the name.”
1. A Fresh Start
Innisfil is about to transform itself. As part of that process, a new look and feel would be transformational. There could not be a better time to consider changing the town’s name to something truly inspiring. It would give the town the tremendous advantage of a fresh start.
Innisfil has the opportunity to enshrine a new name with a strong sense of purpose and place. The right name can help attract tourists and new residents.
3. A Strong Signal
The name “Innisfil” refers to a place without a centre that was created through amalgamation. During the community consultation, most of the participants used the names Stroud, Alcona, Cookstown, Lefroy, Churchill, etc rather than the name Innisfil, revealing the lack of a cohesive sense of living in the Town of Innisfil.
By changing the name to something positive and forward-looking Innisfil would be issuing the strongest of signals that it plans for major upgrades to the community – that this will indeed be “the place to be by 2020.”
4. Little to Lose
The name “Innisfil” is geographically undefined and lacks sense of place. It has little historical significance other than precedent, and lacks the identity or descriptive overtones that help define place. Furthermore, “Innisfil” is confusing because of the way it is spelled and it`s similarities to other towns like Innisfail and Innisville.
5. Much to Gain
A strong, evocative name will have many positive repercussions. The perceptions of outsiders are important. A great name changes the way people think of a place. Innisfil today is being taken for granted. A strong name will help to put a halt to that. It will help improve the town’s identity, especially if the name evokes a sense of the geography of Innisfil -- a appealing rural place on the lake. Having a more evocative and interesting name can make people curious and they might begin to take interest in visiting here, working here, living here and even establishing businesses here.
As an example, years ago, Niagara-on-the-Lake was called Newark. We think of Niagara-on-the-Lake as a pastoral town with cultural assets in a lovely part of the province. The name “Newark” is nowhere near as evocative.
The presentation by Dr. Woodburn and Mr. Leighton were received by council with thanks, at the Special Council Meeting held on May 11, 2011.
The proposed strategies are on the agenda for the Council Meeting scheduled for May 18, 2011 at 7:30 pm.
Council will consider adopting the recommendations made at this or a subsequent Council Meeting.