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Service Squamish Initiative aims for excellence



Prioritized targets, less hierarchy, few leaders, more accountability and better communication through blogs and tweets.

That's the brave new world promised in the Service Squamish Initiative, a new initiative launched by the District of Squamish on April 13 at a special council meeting. The initiative seeks to refine local services and redefine Squamish in a new glow of corporate efficiency and excellence.

To do that, the initiative organizes Squamish around four corporate values: Squamish, the corporation; Squamish, the economy; Squamish, the environment; Squamish, the community. Brainchild of CEO Kevin Ramsay, the new initiative also has a seven-pronged plan to achieve "excellence" in every aspect of the district's operation.

Mayor Greg Gardner said the initiative has evolved over time and comes from a desire by council and the community to achieve excellence in everything that the district does. He said it comes at a time when Squamish needs it most.

"It's an important time in Squamish's history. We are in a period of transition and it's a period of great opportunity in the community. This community deserves us striving for excellence and this is what we are planning to do," said Gardner.

Although laden with management jargon, the new initiative lays out 21 specific goals to be achieved in specific time. Some of these include having a bike lane strategy ready by the winter of 2010, having a trail master plan by the summer of 2011, finalizing the solid waste and sustainability strategy, and finalizing the Official Community Plan (OCP) in 2010.

"It's what impresses me most. There are a couple of pages of specific benchmarks that Mr. Ramsay and his teams will be striving for and measuring," Gardner said.

The new document stresses the importance of measuring success through customer surveys, employment engagement surveys and internal assessment.

"This is about improving Squamish. It's about improving our transparency. It's about improving the empowerment of employees. It's about ensuring that we are providing best value for our community," said Ramsay.