Recently during the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce Business Summit, President & CEO Stuart Harrison interviewed City of Peterborough CAO Allan Seabrooke. What happened from the time they sat down to the end of question and answer was as unique as our city.
It was a frank discussion of the challenges and opportunities our city faces. There are currently 17 community plans guiding city staff. Mr. Seabrooke took these plans, analyzed them, identified themes and created a graphical image and document called Shaping Our City for the Future.
The graphic is based on four pillars and an outer circle.
The four pillars are:
Mr. Seabrooke is looking forward to research being done around the red tape faced by restaurants and craft breweries in our city. The hope is that the result and the findings will help dismantle the perception that the city is closed for business.
He believes that residents and businesses have a role to play as well, in that, as residents or as those involved in the business community we can choose to speak positively about our Peterborough (#TeamPTBO). He says we can do this and still have fruitful discussions about the challenges that Peterborough is facing.
Mr. Seabrooke believes Peterborough is in a unique position in that our demographics are challenging municipal, business and community leaders to think differently about how we define success. How can the city and all of its groups come together and use our differences to make different choices, to create an atmosphere of openness and dialogue? He says communication from the City is crucial. For example, a lot of people still question the investment in the airport. Mr. Seabrooke says the impetus behind airport investment and the lengthening of the runway was to ensure the Peterborough airport could survive as a working airport first; an airport that had service capabilities for other planes and fed the service side of the aviation economy. The emerging passenger service component is a potential bonus.
He also addressed a question about the new library building and the value of upgrading that space. Mr. Seabrooke explained that city staff spoke to groups of all ages and determined there is still value in having a city library. He said the most interesting concept that emerged from those discussions was how residents are still using the library, but in a different way than in the past. With the new building it has the potential to become a central community hub.
Wrapping it up, Mr. Seabrooke acknowledged the city still faces challenges, but having an understanding of where we, as a community, want to go is paramount, along with recognizing and understanding how integrated our various community groups, business community and residents truly are.