Commends City of St. John’s emphasis on healthy neighbourhoods
The St. John’s Board of Trade says it’s pleased with the draft municipal plan the City of St. John’s released Wednesday.
Sharon Horan, the board’s chairwoman, said the 71-page document takes a balanced approach to addressing the city’s future needs.
“We think there’s good balance there between business development needs, commercial and residential planning, and the concept of healthy neighbourhoods.”
The board’s municipal committee made a submission during the consultation process for the plan. In that submission, healthy neighbourhoods were outlined as a matter of particular importance to ensuring the city has a strong consumer base and labour force to meet the growing demands of the local business community.
“You might think that as a business community, we’re really only worried about the business side of the municipal plan, but the reality is that we understand as a board of trade right now that ... having people want to live in the city of St. John’s and stay in the city of St. John’s is also very good for business. So we really like that there’s this balance between the items in there that are directly impacting business development, but also those that make this a great city to live in.”
On the healthy neighbourhoods front, the plan discusses the implementation of mixed-use development.
This would involve fostering neighbourhoods with a variety of housing options, retail stores within walking distance and employers in the area.
Identifying areas for future growth is also a part of the plan.
While the healthy neighbourhoods agenda would look to introduce higher-density development near transit-serviced corridors, it also aims to recognize the character of existing low-density neighbourhoods.
“Certainly in our original submission, we really wanted the city to consider concepts such as density, for example,” said Horan.
High density lowers infrastructure needs
“We know that sprawling cities with low-density homes tend to require much greater infrastructure and that we have to think in the future about ways we can get denser neighbourhoods, but neighbourhoods that are also walkable — that you can go to the corner store with your child in a carriage and walk to pick up your carton of milk.
“We also know that with density, more people are accessible to get to work in a snowstorm when a plow goes down one street, if there’s greater density on that particular street.”
While she is pleased with the plan as it exists in its draft form, Horan notes how it is implemented will prove to be more important.
“We continue to want to make sure that in terms of development in the city that there’s good transparency that occurs and that there’s not going to be a lot of bureaucracy behind getting developments approved,” she said.