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Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.

Abraham H. Maslow

Solutions: Best Practices

Best practices are simply the stories told by one community so that others can learn from their experience. Best practices evolve with knowledge and experience. Such stories can be shared verbally, or documented to facilitate sharing.

As a community, it is frequently debated as to whether expertise should be built up within community members (municipal staff), or if consultants should be retained for their expertise. It's a question without a single correct answer. In our opinion, when a matter comes up repeatedly within a community (e.g., by-laws writing, amending, enforcement), this expertise should reside within the community. However, when a community encounters an issue that is new and not expected to be of continuous application, then it may be wise to look outside for expertise on a short-term basis (e.g., how to build a community centre for a small community).

For many communities, the very exercise of finding and hiring an appropriate source of expertise may be a new or infrequent endeavour. Clearly, we have a vested interest in being chosen for work in our areas of expertise. Therefore, we prefer to share a relevant Best Practices document from a credible and unbiased third party - the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). FCM hosts a repository of Best Practices documents for Canadian municipalities. We hope you find them to be useful.

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