Ben Henderson

I wanted to take this opportunity to write a bit about our current planning process, specifically as it relates to our mature communities. For a number of years now Council has supported the objective of increasing the number of people living in the heart of our city so as to be able to diminish the strains on the city brought about by urban sprawl. This means change to the older communities in our city’s centre. How we go about that process of change and how we decide on what our communities will look and feel like at the end of the process is a much more difficult question.

I have been working for a number of years on finding a better way for the City to have a conversation with communities on what this change will look like. In asking for one of my intitiatives to be consultation in the planning process, I plan to continue these efforts from my position as Councillor. I believe that finding ways to have conversations with communities before we actually have to deal with individual redevelopment applications is a far better way to go, and will ultimately give us healthier resolutions to some of our trickiest questions. I also am hopeful that we will be able to have conversations with our citizens and make decisions around some of the bigger policy questions of how to do neighbourhood densification in this city. The end goal must be strong, vibrant, diverse and sustainable communities.

I think we all recognize that the pressures of fast growth that we have seen in the past few years have left us behind in dealing with some of these questions. I am under no illusion that we will be able to catch up over night, but I am hoping that we can find the resources to have a real conversation about what we want our mature neighbourhoods to look like as they change and give those neighbourhoods a real voice in that outcome.

A number of initiatives are already under way and I hope there will be more to come. If you are interested in understanding and city planning and how it relates to you and your community I urge you to take some of the courses offered by our planning academy. If you are interested in the conversation then get involved with some of the public conversation around our Focus Edmonton Municipal Master Plan,   our Transporation Master Plan and Envision Edmonton 40 year planning. Through my intiative I will continue to find ways to involve the community in the vision for their neighbourhoods and the city and I urge you to keep an eye out and get involved when the opportunities arise.

If all goes well the future will be a vibrant, livable city of which we can all be proud.