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Administrative Updates   Item #
Regular Council Meeting Agenda
City of Spruce Grove Recovery Efforts from COVID-19 Update - Boje
Strategic Vision Element:
This topic relates to all three of the City’s strategic vision elements contained in Council’s Strategic Plan
Request for Decision Summary
The City of Spruce Grove continues to implement the Recovery Framework with a focus on the three themes of governance, economy and social using a variety of engagement techniques and measuring the effect of such efforts through a number of indicators.
That Council receive the City of Spruce Grove Recovery Efforts from COVID-19 Update as information.
The unprecedented arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic led the City to
activate its Municipal Emergency Plan and the City’s Emergency Management
Agency. The Emergency Management Plan and Agency have been in
operation now since early March, and on May 19 th, presented for Council’s feedback, a Draft Recovery Framework (Attachment One).
The Alberta Relaunch Strategy announced by the Province on May 1, 2020
set out three distinct stages to the recovery phase. The Province is currently in stage two, with various local implications such as face coverings and other policies and procedures activated to balance the relaunch of the economy and social systems while supporting the health and safety of the public as COVID-19 case numbers continue to grow in the broader region and citizens await the development of a vaccine.
Since the May 19 th discussions at the Committee of the Whole, administration with the City have been actively assessing the health of the municipality using a suite of indicators across the themes of governance, economic and social. Attachment Two outlines a number of indicators that the City considers valuable insights as to the state of the municipality in its path to recover. The common thread across the various indicators suggests that while certain aspects of the economy both provincially and regionally have resumed, the levels are not necessarily at pre-COVID-19 levels and indicate the overall health of the economy is still fragile.
When assessing the social indicators of health, the data suggests that the community is still hurting and those in vulnerable populations continue to face the most significant challenges from the Pandemic. Attachment Three outlines the various issues at play and how the municipality and region at large are addressing those vulnerable residents as we move into a more stressful season of winter.
Engagement is a pivotal aspect of the City’s Recovery Framework (attachment four). Throughout the Pandemic, the City has engaged across the various stakeholder communities to address a number of economic and social considerations. Most recently, the City launched a public engagement survey from August 19 th – September 5 th to gather the perspective of residents as the City continues to act upon Recovery strategies locally and respond to the relaunch stages that the Province enables. The results of the survey will be provided to Council in late October after analysis is complete.
As the City continues to learn through the Recovery process of the Pandemic, it will move towards adaption of key learnings. One such learning that has become apparent is the efficiency of deploying the City’s limited resources in a variety of locations to ensure coverage of services and key programs. Since the City operated in a virtual manner for upwards of six months, the ability to deliver several programs through virtual means while maintaining key public services was imperative. As the City moves to re-open some facilities with safety considerations, the continued promotion of providing those services that can be done virtually is paramount. This method of delivery keeps citizens safe, staff safe and ultimately lowers the transaction cost of certain lines of business. Furthermore, staff operating in a virtual means has enabled the City to revisit the need for certain infrastructure as the footprint of City administration can be decreased through the use of work place hoteling strategies and remote work options. These latter strategies are being capitalized on by a number of public and private organizations as a cost savings strategy as well as efficiency strategy, as long as customer service and quality assurance of programming is priority.
There are other opportunities that Council may wish to explore in process of Recovery. Council may want to see additional or amended indicators tracked and further efforts conducted on engagement.
As outlined in the background, there have been a number of engagement strategies employed in the past few months during COVID-19. Administration will provide Council with a report in later October from the public engagement survey findings.
Administration will continue to adapt to the learnings from the Recovery Framework implementation and provide reports back to Council on the various elements.
The monitoring of the indicators will inform the impact of the Recovery Framework efforts.
To date, the City has been able to balance the cost of COVID-19 through a variety of strategies including revenue reduction (i.e. lowering of taxes) and cost reductions (temporary staffing changes and delay of certain projects tied to services and programs that are impacted due to the pandemic).