How should St. John's grow?

Dave Bartlett
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St. John's Coun. Tom Hann (head of the table) chairs this past week's planning committee meeting made up of council members and city staff. Among the things discussed were a mayor's symposium, planned for late February, which will kick off public consultations on a new municipal plan for the capital city. - Photo by Dave Bartlett/The Telegram

What do you want the city of St. John's to look like in 25 years?

That's what city council and staff want to find out as they prepare to draft a new municipal plan.

Anyone who wants to have their say on how the city should evolve will have several chances over the next 18 months through a number of public forums.

The process will begin with a mayor's symposium - scheduled for Saturday Feb. 25 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at city hall.

If the event has to be cancelled due to poor weather, it will be held on Sunday, Feb. 26 from 1-4:30 p.m. instead. The symposium was discussed at a city planning committee meeting this week.

The event will be facilitated by the provincial government's rural secretariat and will use what's called "clicker technology" to offer real-time voting on suggestions and ideas raised by the public.

People attending the forum will get a copy of the data collected before they leave. At the committee meeting, staff said they'd soon have the questions to be posed during the symposium.

Deputy Mayor Shannie Duff raised the possibility of the information being biased because of the way those questions are phrased.

However, other members of the committee pointed out that the symposium is only one way the city will collect data during the 16 to 18-month process.

People interested in participating are asked to pre-register, as there's only space for 100 people.

The city will hold additional meetings if there's enough demand.

Coun. Sheilagh O'Leary asked that information packages be prepared beforehand for people who pre-register, to outline in broad strokes how the city makes its planning decisions.

After the meeting, planning committee chairman Coun. Tom Hann told The Telegram council is anxious to get the project moving.

"That will be the first major piece of work to be done," he said of the symposium.

"Over the next 18 months we're going to ... take it into the wards and have public meetings. We're going to give the various interest groups in the city the opportunity to have their input."

Hann said the city wants to hear from people from all walks of life to get as complete a picture as possible of what the citizens want.

"Sometimes when you get into this kind of thing you get self-interest groups that will come out, and what we are trying to do is to make sure everybody in the city has an opportunity to have input," he said.

"That means the ordinary person ... and not just ... advocacy groups, while they will (also) have their opportunity."

He said the information collected at the meetings should be a comprehensive set of comments and ideas which the city can use to start drafting a new municipal plan.

Hann said one of the main things the city wants to do is strike a balance between encouraging development and preserving history and heritage.

Social media will also play a role, as the city wants to give people who can't or don't want to attend public meetings have their say.

dbartlett@thetelegram.com

 

Organizations: The Telegram council

Geographic location: St. John's

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Recent comments

  • Jenn Smith
    January 24, 2012 - 08:50

    How do you pre-register exactly?

  • yo mama
    January 22, 2012 - 18:24

    Designate one office in city hall and hire a polygraph technician, eventually we'll have leaders that actually want best for the cities, towns and the people. Pretty easy and cheap concept, imagine the money saved. This needs to happen FIRST.

  • Don II
    January 22, 2012 - 11:38

    The huge investment which will happen when Danny Williams develops his 2100 acre subdivision will supply enough work and property taxes to keep the St. John's and Mount Pearl metropolitan area going for decades to come. What will Danny name his big new development which will, I understand, be the size of the Town of Gander? Maybe he will name it Williamsville or Dannyland or maybe even the Town of Cuper's Cove!

  • jack
    January 22, 2012 - 09:56

    city council and staff want to draft a new municipal plan. can they even properly manage the dump at robin hood bay?? oh my.. oh my.. good luck north east avaon.

  • tom
    January 22, 2012 - 01:49

    Going to be a welfare town again with all the oil gone and the money spent.

  • jeremiah
    January 21, 2012 - 19:30

    Amalgamation of the NE Avalon! It will come and then the city will be in a position to plan and grow. Until amalgamation happens we will just blunder around haphazardly and stagnate.

  • Andrew Wells
    January 21, 2012 - 17:12

    John Smith - the money from bay bulls was recouped, the waste water plant was required and cost shared, the land fill was not 10's of millions - is cost shared and required, hundred thousand from the depot - unless u have some information about the 100's of thousands, the road to Mt. Pearl was recouped through a federal capital infrastructure grant, their pay is set per a percentage of the overall budget - fair. stop griping. Not happy? run for council or move.

  • Kent
    January 21, 2012 - 16:17

    The people on this commitee couldn't plan a bake sale.

  • Robert Ring
    January 21, 2012 - 16:05

    We need more space-saving housing. Apartment buildings/condos, not just for rent, but for sale as well. Affordable ones too. Ideally these buildings would have parking underneath them, as is common in Europe. Parking under the building, instead of in a parking lot would save a ton of money over the years because it would never need to be plowed. Condensing the city has a number of benefits: decreases travel distances, traffic, pollution, and can improve public transit because of more available users. Also, all new developments should have bike lanes. Unfortunately, I'll be working during the symposium, so please pass these ideas along.

  • Gerry
    January 21, 2012 - 14:25

    What I want in the future is a city council composed of qualified individuals who are educated/trained in the administration of cities. It's time for the public to get educated and stop accepting any tom, dick or harry handling their future. Would you accept the present councillors being in charge of a multimillion dollar corporation? Not likely!

  • James
    January 21, 2012 - 13:49

    "Deputy Mayor Shannie Duff raised the possibility of the information being biased because of the way those questions are phrased." Is she afraid that her heritage committee will get slammed in these discussions?

  • John Smith
    January 21, 2012 - 09:05

    I know what I want, I want the city to stop wasting my money. Ten million for the screwup at bay bulls, ten million for a private developer downtown, 20 million for the waste water plant, tens of millions for repair of the state of the are landfill, hundreds of thousands missing from the depot, millions for a road to Mt. Pearl, to name but a few. They are good at giving themselves raises though, they are very, very, good at that. So I can't say they are good for nothing.

  • Doug
    January 21, 2012 - 08:35

    I think it should be a cross between Fort McMurray and Calgary. Oh yes, and get rid of the hippies and artsies.