In October of 2019, Doug Griffiths, author of “13 Ways To Kill Your Community, spoke to a capacity crowd at Tundra Oil & Gas Place. Now, approximately one year later, the Town of Virden Council has decided to engage his services. At their regular meeting on Oct.19, a motion was passed to have his consulting firm, 13 Ways Inc., conduct a community assessment and develop a strategic plan as well as a marketing and communications strategy. Through a public consultation process, citizens will be able to provide feedback regarding opportunities and challenges.
“Council has chosen Doug Griffiths and his team to lead them and our community through a Community Economic Strategy, based on Doug’s expertise in community engagement,” said Economic Development Manager Liza Park. “Doug provides a variety of services from public speaking topics based on his book to community consultation, assessment, marketing and branding.” Park explained that Council has been looking into ways to do strategic planning along with community engagement, and entered into discussion with Doug and his team this past summer.
The community assessment will involve municipal administration, councillors, the public and the business community in analyzing existing assets and finding a shared vision for the future. As part of their work, the consultants are to identify action the community can take to create new economic opportunities that build upon its assets. “They do a full 360 degree examination of the community’s economic health, the market viability of new ventures and any gaps that may exist.”
Park explained that the project is to be completed over the next six to eight months, at an estimated cost of $150,000.00. She noted that the timeline could be altered due to COVID-19. “This project is for the entire community,” she said. “It is meant to give direction to existing and future councils on where the community needs to go.”