Thursday, 30 March 2017 05:43

City wants feedback on community plan updates

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Garry Koebel, the owner of Sputtergotch Toy Company in downtown Swift Current, looks at information about the update of the official community plan at a public open house at the Main Street Swift Current office, March 15. Garry Koebel, the owner of Sputtergotch Toy Company in downtown Swift Current, looks at information about the update of the official community plan at a public open house at the Main Street Swift Current office, March 15. Matthew Liebenberg

The City of Swift Current is looking for feedback from residents on the preliminary policies that were developed to update the official community plan.


Details about the updated policies for the community plan were provided at a public open house March 15.
The information from the preliminary policies document is now also available online on the City of Swift Current website at www.swiftcurrent.ca/ocp. In addition to viewing the information from the open house, residents can also provide feedback to the City through a survey link on the website.
The City has appointed landscape architecture and planning firm Crosby Hanna & Associates as consultants for the project to update the official community plan.
Leanne DeLong, a planner and manager of community planning with Crosby Hanna & Associates, said the purpose of an official community plan is to provide a high-level plan for an entire community. The City of Swift Current’s existing community plan was adopted in 2003 and although it has been amended a number of times, there was a need for a detailed review of the plan.
“Since that time there has been new planning legislation that has been passed as well as statements of provincial regulations, which regulates planning in the province, have been adopted,” she said. “So this is just a fresh look at the recent growth that’s happened in Swift Current and what the plan is over the next 25 years — how they’re going to manage their land-use development.”
The consultants have met with various stakeholders to collect information and to receive different points of view.
“To get to this point, we have had some public consultation where we met with stakeholders within the community, business owners and community service people and other stakeholders,” she said. “We’ve also met with the R.M. of Swift Current and guiding the process is an advisory group made up of representatives from the City as well as representation from the R.M.”
One of the key goals in the preliminary policies document is the creation of co-operative partnerships with regional neighbours, including the R.M. of Swift Current.
“It’s one of the most important things in the plan because the City and the R.M. are sharing boundaries,” she said. “There are a lot of impacts that are going across boundaries and so it’s of the utmost importance to have that built into the plan.”
Another key goal is related to the environment. The City will be a steward for the Swift Current Creek and it will also take steps to preserve and promote the historical and cultural assets of the downtown area.
“In the plan that is existing there are policies that deal with environmental protection and protection of the Swift Current Creek,” DeLong mentioned. “I think this plan really brings it up to date in terms of requiring ecological assessments and ensuring source water is protected. When we did a public consultation we heard a lot of residents’ pride about the beauty of Swift Current and its natural areas and the creek. I think this plan speaks really well to those things that people in the city take pride in.”
The preliminary policies document includes details with regard to the City’s duty to plan for future residential, commercial and industrial growth. There are also guidelines about infrastructure and transportation in the city.
The document contains information about present land use patterns and a map indicates opportunities and constraints on future land use and development. The document projects that Swift Current will grow to more than 26,000 people over the next 25 years.
“That is looking at a population growth rate of 1.5 per cent,” she said. “So it just depends on how fast Swift Current grows.”
DeLong noted the information on the future land use concept map for Swift Current also includes projections beyond the 25-year period.
“The reason we do that is because although this plan addresses 25 years, it is imperative that you are planning 40 or 50 years ahead so that people are aware what’s going on and have a plan readily available when the time comes, if growth happens faster than you anticipated, it’s going to happen,” she said.

Read 844 times Last modified on Thursday, 30 March 2017 11:06
Matthew Liebenberg

Reporter/Photographer

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