Official Community Plan Launches

Last Thursday morning, a contingent of prairie dog people (Paul Dechene, Stephen Whitworth and myself) attended a news conference at City Hall where Phase 3 of the Official Community Plan was launched. To bring you up to speed, Phases 1 and 2 involved “Scoping” and “Building the Foundation” respectively. Phase 3 is titled “Advancing the Vision”, and involves seeking public input and identifying priorities as the city “grows and changes over the next 25 years”.

Over the last few years, we’ve done a fair bit of writing on the process that led to the Downtown Neighbourhood Plan. The Official Community Plan is similar, except it will address planning on a city-wide scale, and will look at such issues as Land Use & Transportation, Social & Cultural Development, Economic Development, Infrastructure and Natural & Built Environment.

In the next few months,  city officials, who are working with Dialogue, the consulting firm that helped develop the Downtown Plan, will present information on the OCP at a variety of community events. In the fall, the city will host a Speakers’ Series to look at best practices in other cities along with Citizen Circles to discuss specific topics of interest to stakeholder groups. In October, there’ll be a public workshop and ideas fair, and in December, an open house to seek further public input.

You can also participate in the process by visiting www.designregina.ca and offering your input there.

As this process unfolds we’ll do our best to keep you informed. At the press conference, Jason Carlston, General Manager of the Planning & Development Division, and Kim Sare, the city’s Sustainable Communities Coordinator, expressed strong interest in having the planning process be driven by citizen input. That’s fine, but realistically, how many Reginans are prepared to make the changes that we’ve been told repeatedly need to be made if Regina is to get its multi-billion dollar infrastructure deficit under control and become a truly sustainable 21st century city.

To achieve those goals we need to increase our density. That means smaller scale housing in existing neighbourhoods, as opposed to more sprawling suburbs and big box clusters with massive parking lots. We also need to become less car reliant, and embrace other means of getting around the city like public transit, cycling and walking.

At a post press conference scrum, Carlston said “I think we’re looking at different ways of doing things than we have over the last 25 years.” To help Reginans understand the challenges that the city faces moving forward, he noted, with a growing population and a pressing need to adjust our lifestyle expectations to accommodate the rising cost of housing, energy, environmental controls, infrastructure repair and replacement, and whatnot, the city will be undertaking an “education process”.

Should be fun.

Author: Gregory Beatty

Greg Beatty is a crime-fighting shapeshifter who hatched from a mutagenic egg many decades ago. He likes sunny days, puppies and antique shoes. His favourite colour is not visible to your puny human eyes. He refuses to write a bio for this website and if that means Whitworth writes one for him, so be it.

3 thoughts on “Official Community Plan Launches”

  1. This is great and everything but they aren’t giving a lot of clues as to what the general direction is, aside from building a stadium and redeveloping the existing stadium site. Yes I know they’re in the “input” phase now but after the first two phases they must have SOME idea of how they wish to proceed, and that would be useful information for the input process. The “design Regina” site is interesting but I am left with a feeling of “we don’t want to show our cards until you tell us what you want first, so we can spin our plan in that direction”.

  2. This week, the Planning Commission delayed for the time being anyway a $60 million 160,000 square-foot office development in Harbour Landing out of concerns for the potential negative impact it and similar projects that might follow would have on the downtown.

    If they set pretty stringent guidelines for office space on the city’s outskirts that would be a good sign.
    You can read more here:
    http://www.leaderpost.com/Office+park+plan+hold/4848151/story.html

  3. Well that’s interesting. And for what it’s worth, I’m beginning to notice some of the empty spaces on Albert Street filling up. Once upon a time, if you ran a business, you wanted it to be on Albert Street — while lately, Albert Street has kind of looked like a ghost town.

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