The City of Waterloo has a strong history of excellent strategic planning, dating back from the earliest days of its modern infrastructure development and truly beginning to take the form it has today in 1990 with a five-year Strategic Plan that evaluated the City's goals within the framework of data sharing and data integration.
Since that time, the City has regularly reviewed its strategies on community connectivity, including the Imagine!Waterloo initiative in 2000 that sought year-long input for the community to develop a report on the future of the community. Today's Intelligent Community initiatives build on that strong foundation.
In 1990 the City of Waterloo commissioned a five-year Strategic Information Resource Plan. That plan examined Waterloo's need to position itself with regard to new and emerging technologies. The result was the first implementation plan for municipal information technology initiatives. Data-sharing and data integration were key themes.
In 1993 the City completed a Land Related Information System Project (LRIS). This project identified and ranked business applications to create and maintain LRIS and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and formed the basis of a system which today provides the public with excellent mapping resources.
In 1998 the City piloted the Internet-based Waterloo Information Network (WIN) and in 2000 was awarded a National Silver Medal for Information Management Excellence in the Public Sector for that project.
In 2000, the City of Waterloo undertook a significant, city-wide public consultation process to discern the best possible future for Waterloo, for planning and development purposes. That year-long initiative, called Imagine! Waterloo, received broad-based input from citizens and produced a report providing valuable direction on change management, with recommendations on topics ranging from the natural environment and culture, to transportation, planning and city communications.
Building on the results of the Imagine!Waterloo process, Waterloo's strategic priorities focused on a variety of community challenges. Key themes were:
In 2001, telephone and Internet-based program registration was introduced by Waterloo, and in 2002 members of Council and senior management staff adopted the use of the Blackberry wireless communications device to improve the speed of communications between staff and councillors, which has facilitated public access to local decision-makers.
In its 2005 Strategic Plan, the City has revisited and updated its focus on intelligent and sustainable development for the community.
The new Strategic Plan provides a focus for the evolution and sustainability of the Intelligent Community concept through the expansion of both infrastructure and local service delivery initiatives. Five key strategies frame the new plan. They are: