St George’s plan highlights new business and cultural hub among key aims
A transportation study, the creation of business attraction and retention programmes and making the Town of St George a cultural hub have been proposed as part of a draft Strategic Plan for the town.
The draft plan, released last week, is divided into four sections focused on quality of life for residents, sense of community, creating an environment for business investment and efficiently operating the town.
As part of the process, a community survey was launched to gather input from the public about what they want to see in the town and their ideas for improvements.
“We certainly recognise that this is not the first attempt at strategic planning for St George,” the draft plan said.
“Indeed ‘concern about inertia, too much discussion and not enough decision-making, action, and follow-up quality assurance’ were highlighted as problems in a community survey conducted as part of this planning process.
“So in developing this Strategic Plan, we have also started to advance it to the next step, an Action Plan. We have done this by starting to identify the actions and partners required to implement the strategy, the actual deliverables expected and the timelines and likely costs.
“This Action Plan will help to track action and activities and allow us to measure our progress.”
Under the category of creating a high quality of life for residents, survey respondents called for job creation, action to fill empty and derelict buildings, the return of a daily ferry, a police station and housing for seniors.
Respondents also urged improved nightlife and night time transportation options, and better marketing of what the town offers.
Meanwhile key actions listed in the category include improving and maintaining the town’s appearance, enhancing public safety, carrying out a transportation study and protecting the natural environment.
Under the category of celebrating the sense of community, survey respondents suggested a daily or weekly town market, community gardens and a renewed focus on the town’s history and Unesco World Heritage status.
Respondents also suggested identifying an area for youth entertainment – such as a trampoline park or skate park – or a library.
Key actions proposed include promotion of the World Heritage status, encouraging and supporting events celebrating the town and fostering the development of the town as a cultural hub.
Survey respondents suggested that to bolster the town’s economy, public transportation and the town’s infrastructure needed to be improved.
Respondents also complained about a lack of events, marketing and clarity about what the town wants to be, along with a lack synchronicity between business hours and visitor excursions to the town.
The draft plan suggested bringing stakeholders and the business community together to present a coordinated approach and the creation of business attraction and retention programmes, along with highlighting the town’s historic significance and waterfront location to attract development.
On the subject of town operation, survey respondents complained of the town’s “difficult” road system, limited space for development and challenging rules regarding work on historic buildings.
The draft plan suggested the creation of a sustainable asset management programme, working to improve the use of existing public spaces, updating the town’s bylaws and strengthening partnerships with the Government and non-Government organisations.
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