Sunday, June 12, 2011

South 'Gateway' More Like a Wall

Nanaimo News Bulletin, April 24, 2007 To the Editor, I attended the OCP 10-year review Infill and Densification Workshop with Ann McAfee, past co-director of the City of Vancouver planning department. McAfee, as she was recounting how important the leadership role played by elected city officials was in the successful revitalization of Vancouver neighbourhoods, asked if there were any civic politicians in attendance. There weren't. I understand this process is primarily to hear from the public on issues pertaining to Plan Nanaimo and I also understand that the atmosphere of rancor and vitriol where there should be robust discussion and debate must be tiresome. But there is a real need for leadership from our elected officials at this point in the process. When the dust settles in many small cities going through this period of change and renewal, I think these will be the standards by which success or failure will be judged: Did we learn from the past? Did we take the bold steps to reign in sprawl and densify our downtown cores? Did we innovate? Were our new projects stand-alone entities or were they integrated into their neighbourhoods? Were elements like public transit woven into each new project? Did we stop planning and designing for the automobile and start planning and designing for the pedestrian? Did we understand the new economy we will increasingly find ourselves in? An economy of creativity, education and training, innovation. It seems to me we're poised to score highly on these points. We have the opportunity to create a healthy, sustainable little city. It starts with the continued densification and critical mass of mixed uses in the downtown core. Massive, sprawling projects such as the Snuneymuxw First Nation and Northwest Properties South Nanaimo Lands proposal outside the Urban Containment Boundary will set back downtown revitalization ' and therefore the economic and cultural health of the entire city ' for five, 10 even 15 years. This welcome and exciting investment in our city should be redirected into the downtown core and existing south Nanaimo neighbourhoods. The regional shopping centre envisioned by this project is the revitalized core of the city. The 'gateway' to the region described in the South Nanaimo Lands proposal is more accurately a wall. Frank Murphy, Nanaimo

No comments: