Harbour Grace is a rural community of approximately 2,900 people, located in Conception Bay North, in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is considered the second-oldest English settlement in Newfoundland (after Cupid’s), with permanent residence beginning in 1618, when poet Robert Hayman established the “Bristol’s Hope Colony.” For centuries, the community was a prominent economic and administrative hub, rivalling even the capital, St. John’s, as the centre of civic and commercial life in Newfoundland.
Harbour Grace’s fortunes have ebbed and flowed since first incorporating as a municipality in 1945. Today, the community faces similar challenges to others of its size: public infrastructure, revenue generation, outmigration, and aging demographics. But despite its challenges, Harbour Grace is not short of assets. Often, the debate is about focus and competing visions for the future, certainly not lack of potential.
However, there are reasons to be optimistic, one of them being the creation of this ten-year strategic plan. Let Yourself In 2032 is a directional document for the Town which identifies short-, medium-, and long-term priorities. Think of it as a way to keep municipal leaders, staff, stakeholders, and residents ‘on-track’ regarding Harbour Grace’s future. As such, it’s a document that will play a major role in the ongoing process of community building, opening the gates to new possibilities.
Of course, there is plenty of room for future tweaking; strategic plans are never final proofs—they are living documents,perpetually in draft form. And simply put, though priorities can change, community assets realistically do not. “Working with what we have” is really an assertion of identity: that is, who we are and where we’re going.
This strategic plan was developed internally, utilizing the resources of both staff and Council. EDO Matthew McCarthy and Clr Gordon Stone took the lead on facilitation, with the former developing this document from the results. These consultations included one-on-one interviews with staff; sessions with committees of Council; roundtable focus groups; and written community surveys (available both online and in paper form). In addition, other municipal strategic plans were consulted for research and organizational purposes. The final stage of the strategic planning process (Section 4) involved prioritizing objectives and drafting an achievable workplan for staff and Council.
The strategic plan subcommittee wishes to thank all residents, stakeholders, businesses, volunteers, and staff who contributed to Let Yourself In 2032.