Council's Strategic Plan


Making a positive difference now and for generations to come

The Town of High River does not want to be just an average municipal government to our residents. We want to be a municipal government that can be counted on, that drives and inspires a positive difference in our community.

Council and Administration complete a strategic planning cycle every four years. The current cycle will run from January 2019 until December 2022 – this allows each newly-elected Council to begin strategic planning in the first year of their terms while the previous four-year plan is still in effect.

Below are Council’s Strategic Plans from 2019 forward.


During the initial meetings for the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan, Council took a bold new approach.

Using motivational and organizational consultant Simon Sinek’s ‘Start with Why’ model, Council asked the question, ‘WHY do we do what we do?’ In other words, what is our purpose, cause or belief.

Why do we exist and why should anyone care. Council’s answer: to make a positive difference now and for generations to come.

The Plan sets out Council’s goals and priorities for the next four years, which in turn helps us, your local municipal government, plan and provide services and programs for residents of High River.

“Everything we do and touch relates back to the Plan,” says Craig Snodgrass, Mayor of High River. “From bylaw amendments to community developments, we’re always thinking about how the decisions we make today impact High River residents now and in the future.”

Click on any of the headings below to learn more about our strategic plan and the approaches we’re taking to achieve Council’s vision for the our future. You can also pick up printed copies of the Plan in Town facilities around the community.

‘Start with why’

At the Town of High River, we place people at the core of what we do. In this true spirit, we took a bold new approach to planning strategically for our future.

We don’t want to be just an average municipal government to our residents. We want to be a municipal government that can be counted on, that drives and inspires a positive difference in our community.

Most organizations know WHAT they do and HOW they do it, but, very few organizations can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. WHY is all about an organization’s purpose, cause or belief; why an organization exists; why each employee gets out of bed in the morning; and why anyone should care (Simon Sinek, Start with Why, 2009).

Our Council has taken this concept to heart and used it as a guide to develop our Strategic Plan for the next four years (2019 to 2022).

Within the pages of this book, our Council has weaved together a series of strategies and steps to help guide Town Administration in achieving their priorities while maintaining service excellence and developing responsible, environmentally sound projects.

We invite you to take a look and be part of helping to make a positive difference now and for generations to come!

We think and act in these ways to realize our Why:

We can be counted on: Say it, mean it, do it

We inspire each other: Motivate everyone to be their best, be positive and celebrate

We respect one another: Value each individual’s uniqueness and diversity

We are better together: Collaborate to achieve the best outcomes

We dare to be different: Boldly challenge the status quo and foster continuous learning

Goal: The Town of High River provides the foundation for an inclusive, engaged and thriving community

• Strategically invest in community amenities, facilities, services and events
• Increase opportunities for youth
• Encourage community leadership and ownership
• Consider accessibility and inclusion in Town decision-making
• Increase community connection

Performance Measures:
• Level of community volunteerism
• Level of community leadership
• Youth enrolment and participation in Town run programs and committees
• Number of Town of High River community engagement opportunities
• Vital Signs grades (Connection, Expression, Health & Wellbeing, Lifelong Learning, Livability, Thriving Populations)

Goal: The Town of High River provides community support, protection and emergency services

• Enhance resident confidence through education and readiness with protection services and emergency preparation
• Promote coordination of support, protection and emergency service delivery
• Coordinate community safety concerns
• Committed to be the most flood-protected community

Performance Measures:
• Crime rate and traffic accident rates
• Fire response times
• Number of community education offerings in emergency preparedness
• Vital signs grade in “Safety and Security” category
• Percentage of completed mitigation projects

Goal: The Town of High River is a leader, partner and steward of excellent municipal services


Financial Strength
• Provide value today and reserves for the future
• Effectively manage the town’s assets
• Pursue revenue diversification

Service Excellence
• Strive for excellent and sustainable service delivery
• Develop staff commitment to the Health and Safety Management program
• Develop and nurture productive partnerships

Engaged Workplace
• Develop effective leadership
• Develop engaged and motivated staff
• Align staff to organizational values and culture

Performance Measures:
• Percentage of staff completion in Customer Service Excellence training
• Annual score on Health & Safety Audit
• Remaining useful life of municipal infrastructure (life cycle planning)
• Percentage of total assets with asset management plan
• Percentage of debt and debt service utilized by the municipality (debt and debt service ratio)
• Tax collection rate
• Annual percentage of municipal tax revenue allocated to reserves
• Annual percentage of tax revenue versus total revenue

Goal: The Town of High River considers the impact of development on residents, infrastructure and environment

• Establish growth direction and strategy
• Foster regional partnerships to enhance opportunities
• Align revenues (taxes, fees, levies), water and land use policies
• Strategically increase commercial development

Performance Measures:
• Number of business licenses issued
• Commercial/industrial occupancy rate
• Number of home occupation development permits issued
• Number of residential building permits issued
• Number of commercial building permits issued
• Municipal participation in partnership opportunities
• Percentage of utility revenue allocated to utility reserves (water, wastewater, storm water)
• In-town water loss percentage

Goal: The Town of High River stewards natural resources and the built environment

• Consistently uphold and/or surpass legislated environmental standards
• Preserve, protect and maintain our natural and built surroundings

Performance Measures:
• Water treatment plant compliance inspection score
• Annual tree health urban forest reporting
• Tonnage of recycled material and solid waste landfilled
• Vital signs grade in “Environment” category
• Annual municipal water main breaks and sewer backups

High River is rooted in people.

This means we count on you to be partners in the work we do and how we do it. Each of you brings a unique and diverse perspective to our community. A perspective that can help us challenge the status quo and foster continuous learning. A perspective that can help us achieve the best outcomes and live out our “why” – to make a positive difference now and for
generations to come.

Here are some of the ways you can help us achieve our “why”:

Learn: about the programs and services we offer to and for the community through publications, online materials and in-person events
Share: your voice by participating in community engagement activities, campaigns and surveys, and attending meetings of Council
Volunteer: with our committees, boards and community events to help us serve and meet the needs of all High River residents
Inspire: your friends and neighbours to join us in making a difference in the community
Experience: all that High River has to offer!

We invite you to join us, and maybe in the process, you’ll find your “why” too!