Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden is well aware there are some weighty decisions looming in council's future.
"The expectation is that there will be some critical decisions that will have to be made in the later part of 2013," she said.
In the upcoming months, recommendations may be delivered from the Economic Partnership Initiative, the Learning and Education Strategy Task Force, the Recreation and Leisure Master Plan and the Cultural Plan.
Last week's two-day council retreat was a time to talk about the work in the pipeline and prepare for the coming year.
"We mapped out when we're expecting to see these various reports and these various actions," added the mayor.
"These big pieces coming in will have their own set of actions in the remainder of 2013 and moving into 2014."
Meanwhile, the retreat also offered another in depth view of what's been going on at municipal hall since council approved the Corporate Plan last June.
Senior managers checked in with council with overviews on their division's goals — whether they had been achieved, were ongoing, taken off the work plan or yet to be initiated.
"When you see that report and see the amount of work that's been done in 2012, keeping in mind that the corporate plan only came into existence in June of last year, so really it was only a six or seven month window of opportunity, there really has been a substantial amount of work accomplished. I'm rather proud," said Wilhelm-Morden.
"Being a person who likes lists," she laughs, "it just is really gratifying to see checkmarks beside so many of these things."
Municipal CAO Mike Furey explained that the corporate plan is not just a passive work plan; it measures how the municipality meets its goals. In that way, it's a snapshot of whether it's getting the job done, or not.
"I think you'll see for the most part we have moved the dial in a positive direction," he said. "There are a couple of areas that need a little more work."
Namely, satisfaction with transit service and cost recovery at the Meadow Park Sports Centre.
But the overriding sense from the retreat is that council and staff are on the right track.
Furey said it's now a matter of "keeping our heads down" and staying the course with the established priorities.
When asked what the difference was between this year's retreat and last year's retreat, the mayor said: "The feel in the room last year was substantially different than it was this year. Last year of course we were newly elected, we were feeling our way, we were just starting to get to know one another. There was almost an 'us versus them' kind of feel in the room last year. We don't have that feeling at all now."