The Village of Canal Flats is getting set for its annual strategic planning session, and will be bringing in afacilitator from Paragon Strategic Services, following a decision made at the most recent Canal Flats councilmeeting.

Most municipalities engage in strategic planning sessions annually or semi-annually, and Canal Flats is noexception. During its Monday, September 12th meeting, Canal Flats council chose Paragon (which has offices inVancouver, Victoria and Vernon, and is headed by consultant Tracey Lorenson) to lead this year’s strategicplanning and priority setting session.

“It’s something we do on a semi-annual basis, just to keep focused on what priorities and projects we need toconcentrate on during the next five years or so,” said Canal Flats mayor Ute Juras.

“We are currently in the process of setting the date, and the person we have chosen (Lorenson) is the same onethe Regional District of East Kootanay (RDEK) has chosen for its strategic planning, so we are trying to piggybackon that, so she can do both sessions in one trip out here,” said Juras. “It will likely be some time in the end ofOctober.”

Juras said the village’s new chief administrative officer Heidi Frank has worked with Paragon in the past, and highly recommends Lorenson.

Precisely what priorities council members, village staff and the facilitator will put on the top of the list remains tobe seen, according to Juras.

“That will be something we’ll work on during the session, but I would suggest that economic development will benear the top of the list,” she said.

The village has been in the process of trying to diversify its economy and attract development after Canforcompletely shut down its mill operations in Canal Flats last year.