Preparing For More Sprawl As Summit Winds Down

One of the themes that seems to be emerging from the National Infrastructure Summit is that it simply won’t be possible to solve our massive, multi-billion dollar infrastructure deficit problem by finding new funding models alone. More importantly, we have to start building infrastructure in smarter, more innovative ways. And there are more than a few really smart people here who seem to agree that one really smart thing we should be doing is putting the brakes on urban sprawl. Now.

For instance, when I interviewed Calgary mayor, Naheed Nenshi, he called sprawl the killer of efficiency.

And in a scrum on Wednesday, Jennifer Keesmaat of the urban planning firm Dialog (formerly Office For Urbanism), had this to say on the subject:

One of the challenges we have at a municipal level is that we don’t have the money we need for the infrastructure that we’ve built and are building. What does that mean for you as a citizen? You’re going to be paying more. Or we can begin planning in a different way and make that infrastructure less costly. And the reason it’s so costly is because it’s so sprawling and so spread out…. I think in one word we need higher density communities where we better use the infrastructure we have.

Are people getting the message? Maybe.

Be that as it may, I found an oddly-timed press release from the city in my inbox this afternoon. It was about a public information session for a proposed development in Regina’s northwest. It’s a Harvard project called Westhill Park Phase IV and it will occupy the lands just east of Pinkie Road and south of 9th Ave N. The current plan includes 306 residential units and a public park.

The public meeting is Thursday, February 1 from 4:30 to 8 pm at the Westhill Park Baptist Church (8025 Sherwood Dr).

At right, there’s a map of where it is slated to be built. And the pic at the start of the post is a Google Streeview from the end of Sherwood drive looking out over the lands that are likely to become Westhill Park Phase IV.

Call me crazy, but that sure doesn’t look like infill.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5'10'' tall and he was born in a place. He's not there now. He's sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It's "Girl From Ipanema", thanks for asking. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

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