Comité des services communautaires et de protection
and / et
Planning and Environment Committee
Comité de l’urbanisme et de l’environnement
and Council/et au Conseil
Submitted by/Soumis par : Steve Kanellakos, Deputy City Manager/Directeur municipal adjoint,
City Operations/Opérations municipales
Infrastructure Services and Community Sustainability/Services d’infrastructure et Viabilité des collectivités
(613) 580-2424 x 25684, Donna.Gray@ottawa.ca
Contact Person/Personne-ressource : Johanne Levesque, Director/Directrice, Community Sustainability Services/Service de viabilité des collectivités
(613) 580-2424 x22632, Johanne.Levesque@ottawa.ca
1. That the Community and Protective Services Committee and the Planning and Environment Committee recommend that Council:
a. Receive the results of the Neighbourhood Plans for Vars and Hintonburg/Mechanicsville, as described in this report and attached as Documents 1 and 2;
b. Direct staff to use the Vars and Hintonburg/Mechanicsville Neighbourhood Plans as the first point of reference for all future City‑owned work planned in these communities; and
2. That Planning and Environment Committee recommend that Council direct staff to move to the Implementation Phase of the Neighbourhood Planning Initiative (NPI) for the pilot Vars and Hintonburg/Mechanicsville Plans and to report back to Council by Q3 2010 with progress on:
a. An implementation strategy, designed with input from other departments, that outlines the required resources and timing necessary to advance the City-owned recommendations;
b. The development of a tracking and reporting framework that will allow for annual reporting to Council; and
c. An assessment of the integration of NPI as part of the City’s overall community planning processes.
RECOMMANDATIONS DU RAPPORT
1. Que le Comité des services communautaires et de protection et le Comité de l’urbanisme et de l’environnement recommandent au Conseil de :
a. prendre connaissance des résultats des plans de voisinage de Vars et de Hintonburg/Mechanicsville, tels qu’ils sont décrits dans le présent rapport et fournis en pièce jointe (documents 1 et 2);
b. demander au personnel d’utiliser les plans de voisinage de Vars et de Hintonburg/Mechanicsville comme référence pour tout travail de planification futur de la Ville dans ces collectivités.
2. Que le Comité de l’urbanisme et de l’environnement recommande au Conseil de demander au personnel d’exécuter la phase de mise en œuvre des projets pilotes de Vars et de Hintonburg/Mechanicsville dans le cadre de l’IPV, et de présenter un rapport au Conseil avant le troisième trimestre de 2010 sur :
a. une stratégie de mise en œuvre, élaborée en collaboration avec les autres services, qui dresse un portrait général des ressources et du temps nécessaires pour appliquer les recommandations de la Ville;
b. l’élaboration d’un cadre de surveillance et de rapport pour la présentation de rapports annuels au Conseil;
c. une évaluation de l’intégration de l’IPV à l’ensemble des processus de planification communautaire.
Assumptions and Analysis:
In 2006, Council endorsed the implementation of the Neighbourhood Planning Initiative (NPI) and identified the communities of Hintonburg/Mechanicsville and Vars as pilot demonstration sites. This report presents the results of the two pilots, including the successes, lessons learned, and plans for next steps.
The Ottawa 20/20 plan identified the need for a collaborative planning process that links land use, community services, and infrastructure planning. NPI is a collaborative planning initiative that integrates social, economic, physical development, and land planning issues at a local neighbourhood level. Neighbourhood Planning engages citizens and builds on local knowledge to better reflect the needs, priorities, and concerns of local citizens. It also builds collaboration among city departments.
The NPI pilots have proven to be successful initiatives that encourage a holistic planning approach on a variety of levels. The NPI process included extensive consultation and engagement with community representatives and staff who attended approximately 200 meetings and events in order to create Neighbourhood Plans that include 163 recommendations. The benefits and outcomes are well documented in the pilot neighbourhood plans.
After working to define their respective neighbourhood visions and to identify their key priorities, it is the expectation of the pilot communities that the City will use their neighbourhood plans as a first point of reference. These plans will be used for any future work planned in the communities.
Going forward, Community Sustainability will work with the two pilot neighbourhoods to address the implementation phase. Staff will work with the appropriate city departments to develop an implementation strategy and track progress of all recommendations, including those that are community-driven. Staff will report annually to Council on the status of all City-owned recommendations. In addition, Community Sustainability will complete a full assessment within the next six months to determine how future NPI plans will be integrated into the broader city planning processes.
Legal/Risk Management Implications:
There are no legal/risk management impediments to implementing the recommendations in this report.
There are no financial implications associated with the approval of the recommendations of this report. Costs to implement the specific City-owned recommendations contained within the Vars and Hintonburg/Mechanicsville Neighbourhood Plans are not yet fully known and will be considered as part of future reports and budget deliberations.
The level of commitment of the Vars and Hintonburg/Mechanicsville communities to NPI was a key success factor in the development of the two neighbourhood plans. Extensive consultation and engagement was carried out with both communities throughout the planning process. Further consultation and engagement with the two communities will be critical as the two plans move to the implementation phase.
Hypothèses et analyse
En 2006, le Conseil a approuvé la mise en œuvre de l’Initiative de planification de voisinage (IPV) et a désigné Vars et Hintonburg/Mechanicsville comme sites pilotes de démonstration. Le présent rapport contient les résultats des deux projets pilotes, ainsi que les réussites, les leçons apprises et les prochaines étapes prévues.
Dans le plan Ottawa 20/20, on reconnaît le besoin d’un processus de planification concerté qui associe l’aménagement du territoire, les services communautaires et la planification de l’infrastructure. L’IPV est une initiative de planification conjointe qui intègre l’aménagement du territoire et le développement social, économique et physique à l’échelle des communautés locales. La planification du voisinage fait appel à la participation des citoyens et à l’expertise locale pour mieux refléter les besoins et les priorités des résidents, de même que les solutions à leurs préoccupations. Elle favorise en outre la collaboration entre les différents services de la Ville.
Il ne fait désormais aucun doute que les projets pilotes de l’IPV sont des initiatives fructueuses qui favorisent une approche holistique de la planification sur plusieurs plans. Dans le cadre du processus de l’IPV, des représentants de la communauté et des membres du personnel se sont largement consultés à l’occasion de quelque 200 réunions et activités afin d’élaborer les plans de voisinage, qui totalisent 163 recommandations. Les avantages et les résultats attendus sont bien indiqués dans les plans de voisinage des projets pilotes.
Après avoir défini leur vision respective de leur milieu et déterminé leurs priorités, les communautés visées par les projets pilotes s’attendent à ce que la Ville utilise leurs plans de voisinage comme référence. Ces plans seront utilisés pour tout projet futur réalisé dans leur communauté.
Par la suite, les Services de viabilité des collectivités travailleront avec les deux communautés visées pour planifier la phase de mise en œuvre. Le personnel travaillera avec les services concernés de la Ville pour élaborer une stratégie de mise en œuvre et faire le suivi de l’application des recommandations, y compris celles de la communauté. Le personnel présentera un rapport annuel au Conseil sur l’avancement de l’application des recommandations de la Ville. De plus, les Services de viabilité des collectivités mèneront une évaluation complète au cours des six mois suivants pour déterminer comment les plans futurs de l’IPV seront intégrés à l’ensemble des processus de planification de la Ville.
Incidences juridiques / concernant la gestion des risques
Le rapport ne soulève aucune conséquence juridique ni de conséquence pour la gestion des risques découlant de la mise en œuvre des recommandations.
Aucune répercussion financière n’est liée à l’approbation des recommandations du présent rapport. Les coûts de mise en œuvre des recommandations de la Ville formulées dans les plans de voisinage de Vars et de Hintonburg/Mechanicsville ne sont pas encore totalement connus et feront l’objet de délibérations budgétaires et de rapports futurs.
Consultation publique / commentaires
Le niveau d’engagement des communautés de Vars et de Hintonburg/Mechanicsville à l’égard de l’IPV a largement contribué au succès de l’élaboration des deux plans de voisinage. Des efforts importants de consultation et de mobilisation des deux collectivités ont été déployés tout au long du processus de planification. La poursuite de ces efforts sera cruciale quand viendra le temps d’exécuter la phase de mise en œuvre des deux plans.
Purpose of the report
This report provides City Council with the results of the two pilots and discusses the need to determine how the Neighbourhood Planning Initiative (NPI) should be integrated into the broader scope of the City’s planning process.
On 10 May, 2006, Council approved a report entitled Neighbourhood Planning (ACS2006-CPS-HOU-0007). With this report Council endorsed the implementation of the Neighbourhood Planning Initiative (NPI). The report recommended the two pilot communities of Hintonburg/Mechanicsville (Ward 15) and Vars (Ward 19).
Hintonburg/Mechanicsville was chosen as a well-established neighbourhood with other City work scheduled to occur concurrently with the NPI. Vars was chosen as a rural neighbourhood with no City work occurring at the time of the NPI. Selecting these two neighbourhoods allowed for the evaluation of NPI in two distinct settings:
· An established neighbourhood with an active community association and City‑planned infrastructure improvements.
· A neighbourhood of a rural nature with a “carte blanche” opportunity as it had no other work underway to impact the NPI program and evaluation.
The Neighbourhood Planning Initiative is rooted in the Ottawa 20/20 plan, which identified the need for a collaborative planning process that links land use, community services, and infrastructure planning. The NPI provides a new opportunity for the City and communities to work together and for City departments and branches to collaborate on projects.
The strength of NPI comes from integrating social, economic, physical development, and land planning issues at a local geographic level. By improving communication, community collaboration, and building community capacity, the NPI moves away from wish list consultative exercises with communities to building comprehensive and prioritized community visions and plans.
While the methodology of Neighbourhood Planning is not new, the defining feature of NPI is that it is a sustained and intensive process. It involves multiple meetings over many months, the ongoing exchange of information and ideas, and a strong commitment from community representatives, its agencies, and City staff to participate in the process from start to finish. Throughout this process, all issues are considered and discussions lead to community priorities that can be developed into neighbourhood or community plans, work plans, capital projects, and other initiatives both private and public.
NPI centers planning for projects and services on a focused geographic area at the neighbourhood level and tailors those projects to meet community needs in a holistic manner. Many traditional planning exercises tend to be service or project-based (such as land use, built form, or transportation) in areas that are undergoing or are expected to experience significant growth and redevelopment. The NPI can focus on changes or needs in the community that are not necessarily linked to growth and can tap into resources in the community to assist with defining those needs.
Place-based planning is made possible when all players partner with the stakeholders within a defined geography. It is about inclusion, communication, interactivity, information sharing, and capacity building. Together the neighbourhood identifies a vision for their “place” and then commits to working toward the realization of that vision. Through a sustained and collaborative effort, stakeholders can actively mediate competing interests and priorities through the provision and sharing of information and perspectives. The City, as a participant, can coordinate its plans, services, and consultation within a community in an integrated, holistic and effective manner.
Using the premise of placed-based planning, the NPI followed a process to arrive at successful visions for both Hintonburg/Mechanicsville and Vars.
Neighbourhood Planning Initiative (NPI) approach
The NPI approach includes four major phases:
· Start-up, data gathering, and community visioning process
· Recommendation drafting and review
· Writing of Neighbourhood Plan document
The start-up and data gathering phase includes:
· Identifying a committed community group
· Assessing the community’s assets and strengths
· Holding community workshops to identify the key concerns and issues
· Creating a visioning process
· Exploring key issues through a series of topic meetings
· Sharing information with expert input
After completing all phases of the information gathering process, the community then considers priorities and identifies recommendations for actions that will move them toward their vision for the neighbourhood. Draft recommendations are vetted through City branches for staff feedback, including resource consideration.
A final Neighbourhood Plan, which captures the process and identifies the action plan, is brought to Council for endorsement as a community-developed planning document that the City commits to implement with the community. Staff then provide annual progress updates on each Neighbourhood Plan to keep Council informed and the City accountable.
Recommendation 1 – Vars and Hintonburg/Mechanicsville Neighbourhood Plans
The Neighbourhood Plans for each community are attached as Documents 1 and 2 of this report.
Results of the Neighbourhood Planning Initiative pilot sites
The pilots and their specific successes and lessons learned are further discussed in this section of the report under the following topics:
· Hintonburg/Mechanicsville NPI
· Vars NPI
· Summary results of the NPI pilots
· NPI assessment
· Lessons learned from the NPI pilots
The first NPI pilot began in the fall of 2006 in the neighbourhood of Hintonburg/Mechanicsville. Hintonburg is an urban community, located just to the west of centretown Ottawa. It is a well-established neighbourhood rich in history, and was chosen for its diverse but stable population. It is well-known for its community activism and involvement—many examples are outlined in Appendix 7 of the Hintonburg/Mechanicsville Neighbourhood Plan document.
Hintonburg/Mechanicsville also provided a real-time opportunity to explore the collaboration of multiple projects as it had two City projects scheduled for 2007—the Wellington West Road Reconstruction project and the Wellington Street West Community Design Plan (CDP).
Hintonburg and Mechanicsville developed a vision to build a strong, unified, healthy, caring, creative, and sustainable community that they are proud to call home. The vision is founded on eight pillars that form the structure of their common future. Thirteen themes guided the thinking, and from the pillars and themes, principles and recommendations were developed. The eight pillars are as follows:
The Hintonburg and Mechanicsville planning process involved 170 meetings and events over a three-year period that resulted in 89 recommendations in the areas of:
The attached Hintonburg/Mechanicsville Neighbourhood Plan (Document 2) provides further details about these recommendations. Given the number of City projects that occurred concurrently with the Neighbourhood Planning Initiative, a number of the recommendations documented in the Neighbourhood Plan have already been initiated. Some of these include:
The Hintonburg/Mechanicsville group of community representatives became known as the Continuity Task Force (CTF). The CTF provided their thoughts on the implementation phase of the Neighbourhood Plan (NP). The CTF recommends the following:
These recommendations will be addressed in the next report. Further information regarding NPI and the Official Plan is provided in the section “Additional comments–Official Plan status.”
The Vars pilot project began in September 2007. Vars is a small rural community approximately 25 kilometres east of downtown Ottawa, and one kilometre off Highway 417. Vars is a stable rural community with a population of 1365. Approximately 900 residents live in the village proper, and the remainder live in the surrounding area. Vars is a relatively affluent community, but since it has limited employment opportunities, most residents commute to Ottawa for work.
Established in the 1880s, Vars was once a vibrant village that provided services to the surrounding farms and to the railway that runs through it. Over time, the railway station was decommissioned, businesses closed, and one of the local schools was shut down. In 2007 when NPI began, Vars found itself as a community without a clear vision of its future direction.
Issues of concern to the Vars community at the start of the pilot included:
· Streets and sidewalks in need of repair
· Limited activities for youth
· A high percentage of residential home residents with limited programming support
· Undeveloped industrial-zoned land
· A community centre that was not filling the needs of the community
· A main street that does not have the look or feel of a rural main street
Unlike the Hintonburg/Mechanicsville pilot, Vars did not have other City works projects scheduled during the time of the NPI. It presented a ‘carte blanche’ Neighbourhood Planning opportunity in a rural community.
Over the course of the planning process, Vars residents attended over 40 meetings and developed 74 recommendations for their community. The process began with developing a vision document, conducting a community survey, and agreeing to a work plan that focused on issues identified by the group.
The Vars vision aims to create a vibrant, active, bilingual, rural, and sustainable community that is welcoming to all. In order of priority, as determined by the community, surveys, and meetings, Vars has a vision that aims to:
· Develop a Community Centre that meets the needs of the village.
· Install sidewalks on Rockdale Road and upgrade those on Buckland Road.
· Identify Rockdale Road as the main street of Vars and plan for the installation of sidewalks and lampposts to reflect this.
· Encourage new businesses in the village and the development of the industrial park through mechanisms such as reduced development fees.
· Reinvest all cash-in-lieu of parkland monies collected in Vars back into the acquisition of new parkland or to the improvement of current parkland in Vars.
· Commit to ongoing communication and cooperation with current residential care home managers and residents.
· Commit to the development of no new residential care homes in Vars and no expansion to those that currently exist.
· Limit residential growth in Vars to 10–20 new homes per year and prohibit subdivision expansion by large-scale developers.
· Develop currently unused land.
· Develop industrial parkland.
· Develop a seniors’ residence.
· Increase OC Transpo service to Vars with additional midday and late evening runs.
· Develop a commuter rail corridor with a stop in Vars.
· Improve public transportation in Vars, and include a commitment to partner with Prescott‑Russell politicians to create a commuter rail line to Vars.
· Be a community in which its residents can live, work, and play.
· Provide a supportive social structure for all in the community.
· Encourage residents to reduce their environmental impact.
· Preserve the best parts of the community for future generations.
The Neighbourhood Planning process produced a number of significant recommendations and outcomes, including:
· An improved relationship between the residential care home residents and the broader neighbourhood.
· The reinstatement of an active Vars Community Association.
· Agreement on a number of top priorities that need to be addressed in the community.
· An understanding of the challenges of developing an entirely new community centre in Vars due to lack of funds and available land, which has resulted in a shift to making the existing facilities as useful and functional as possible for the community.
Summary results of the NPI pilots
The NPI pilots produced detailed neighbourhood plan documents, and provided a number of lessons learned and feedback for future neighbourhood planning initiatives.
These projects took from two to three years to complete, and overall the pilot neighbourhoods are pleased with their final neighbourhood plans. These plans detail the community vision for the neighbourhoods and contain a collective total of 163 recommendations. Multiple organizations, the community, and the City now share the responsibility of implementing these recommendations.
Eighteen percent of the recommendations are at some phase of implementation. For example, retrofit work is being done at the Hintonburg Community Centre and the design of new village identification signage for the community of Vars is underway.
The building of relationships and ongoing collaboration takes time, but both pilots benefited greatly from having taken the time necessary to meaningfully engage community members and staff.
The original timeline for the pilots was set at 18 months, and each had a budget of $75,000. Although the plans came in on budget, it took longer to complete the planning exercise because of the time required to define neighbourhood boundaries, engage community participants, and coordinate three concurrent work projects underway in Hintonburg/Mechanicsville.
The assessment of the Neighbourhood Planning Initiative has been multi-faceted. It included an ongoing observational research project by Carleton University’s Centre for Urban Research and Education (CURE) and the completion of an evaluation questionnaire by all staff and community committee members involved in the process.
NPI participants provided constructive feedback and made suggestions for the next neighbourhood planning process. These suggestions are summarized in the closeout notes for the project. In general, feedback is overwhelmingly positive and all involved in the NPI pilots have indicated that neighbourhood planning provides many benefits to both the City and the participating neighbourhoods.
Under the direction of Dr. C. Stoney, CURE followed the course of the NPI project from its inception to its conclusion. CURE’s involvement proved useful to the NPI team as they highlighted issues as they arose and offered suggestions for improvements throughout the life of both pilots. CURE assisted with research and survey analysis, which eliminated the need to secure staff resources to complete these tasks. Their astute observations and analysis resulted in a series of academic papers and a final evaluation report. The contributions by CURE in the NPI process illustrates the value and potential for continued partnerships with the universities in Ottawa.
A copy of the CURE report is available for reference in the Clerk’s Department.
The City currently uses a number of methods to engage communities in planning efforts. These methods vary by department and by the particular issue at hand. For example, many of the City’s current planning exercises involve one department with a specific focus on discrete jurisdictions, such as land use planning, physical infrastructure planning, or social services planning. NPI, on the other hand, allows for cross‑departmental collaboration on planning projects to better meet the needs, priorities, and concerns of local citizens.
The lessons learned have been many. The following are some of the highlights:
· It is important to complete a boundary definition exercise at the start of every new Neighbourhood Planning Initiative.
· Residents and community stakeholders are the experts in any neighbourhood. They are a wealth of information, history, and understanding that can assist the City in its planning efforts.
· Sustained City collaboration with a community is of significant value. Sustained engagement allows for time to work through issues in a meaningful and thorough manner, and in the process develop a respectful and enjoyable relationship between the parties. This collaboration results in a level of trust and mutual respect seldom seen between government and residents.
· Trust is important—it takes time to build processes and relationships that have integrity, trust, and substance. The pilot experience has shown that upfront time is required to set the foundation for buy-in and cooperation from the community and staff.
· Involvement by Councillors of the NPI neighbourhoods is a key element to the success of the program. Councillors were extensively involved in the pilots in their respective neighbourhoods. The NPI process offered the Councillors an ongoing and sustained dialogue with the community as it defined its neighbourhood priorities, and provided Councillors with an active and ongoing connection to the pulse of their community.
· Neighbourhood planning increases inter-departmental collaboration and connection that results in a more comprehensive and place-sensitive approach to neighbourhoods. The NPI project gave a group of staff the opportunity to fully explore the potential of working in a truly collaborative manner, and the outcomes were very positive. Staff were able to build on each others’ resources resulting in better outcomes for the neighbourhood.
· Throughout both pilots, staff advised the community that NPI does not bring with it new funding. Rather the focus of NPI is how to make best use of existing resources.
· While it is anticipated that any neighbourhood would benefit from an NPI plan, immediate results and outcomes are likely to be found in neighbourhoods that have other scheduled projects with resources attached. The NPI process allows for the alignment of all work to create a collaboratively built vision for that neighbourhood.
· The estimated budget dedicated to each pilot is a minimum and could be increased.
· Identifying priorities in a neighbourhood is considered a value as it moves the neighbourhood closer to achieving them, even if the allocation of funding is not clear.
The two NPI plans identify the key priorities for the Hintonburg/Mechanicsville and Vars communities. Recommendation 2 is based on overwhelming feedback received from the pilot neighbourhoods. After working to define their vision, it is the community’s understanding that staff will use their neighbourhood plans to help direct all future work done in the community. The neighbourhood plans define their needs of today and their vision for the future.
Staff agree that the recommendations in the pilot plans should be used as the first point of reference for all planned work in these communities. In a practical sense, this means that when there is work planned in the community, staff will consider the recommendations of the neighbourhood plans and commit to implementing any City-owned recommendations that can be done within the budget framework.
The implementation of the two completed Neighbourhood Plans is viewed as a joint responsibility between the specific neighbourhoods and the City. The Community Sustainability Department will take the lead in working in collaboration with the community, and other City departments to achieve the vision identified by both communities.
After working with the communities to define their vision and set recommendations that will help them meet that vision, the NPI documents provide an invaluable tool to direct how the City works in partnership with our communities. The Community Sustainability Department has been asked to see that the successes and lessons learned through both pilot projects are integrated into the work done in Hintonburg/Mechanicsville and Vars. Community Sustainability will work with the appropriate city departments to develop an implementation strategy that includes identifying the necessary resources and timing required to act on the City-specific recommendations in the pilot plans.
Given its mandate to develop sustainable communities and its relationship with other planning processes, NPI fits within the framework of Community Sustainability and this move will ensure that neighbourhood priorities form the foundations upon which the future of Ottawa is built.
To preserve the momentum of the vision described in these documents, moving forward staff will track progress of all recommendations, including those that are community-driven, and report annually to Council on the status of all City-owned recommendations. Staff will work collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders to achieve its mandate of making sound decisions today in order to positively impact our quality of life now and for the future.
During the first half of 2010, the Community Sustainability department intends to conduct an assessment and develop a framework that integrates Neighbourhood Planning with other City planning tools. Community Sustainability staff will review the NPI program with attention to costs, resources, timing, and associated benefits and will recommend how NPI can fit into an integrated planning framework to better build sustainable communities one neighbourhood at a time.
Staff will report to Council in Q3 2010 on the progress of the Implementation phase.
It has been suggested the Neighbourhood Plan documents should receive Official Plan (OP) status as a Secondary Plan. OP status is enabled by the Planning Act, and as such, the basis of it is land use. Neighbourhood Planning documents take a holistic approach to planning and consider issues beyond land use.
Community Design Plans (CDPs) are another form of comprehensive planning, which are approved by Council as Council policy, and are often adopted as Secondary Plans under the Planning Act. However, when a CDP is adopted as a Secondary Plan, it is structured in the three-part manner set out by the Planning Act. Part 1 provides background information, Part 2 addresses the land use strategy and any components that support it, and Part 3 contains the implementation strategy. The Official Plan Amendment is comprised only of Part 2, and becomes a Secondary Plan. The other two parts remains as Council-approved policy residing outside the Official Plan, and continue to form part of the original Community Design Plan that was approved by Council prior to the adoption of the Secondary Plan.
No changes can be made to a Secondary Plan without an Official Plan Amendment adopted by Council.
Staff will incorporate a review of the criteria for Official Plan status and its relationship to NPI. Based on discussions and feedback from the communities, staff will present their recommendations on how NPI can best fit into an integrated planning framework, including how NPI and the CDP process can be streamlined, reflective and responsive to the diversity of Ottawa’s neighbourhoods in its next report to Council in Q3 2010.
The attached Neighbourhood Planning documents represent the accumulation of two to three years of consultation and public involvement in two Ottawa neighbourhoods.
A total of 44 community representatives committed to the process and took part in over 170 meetings in Hintonburg/Mechanicsville and over 40 meetings in Vars. Six Open Houses were held in Hintonburg/Mechanicsville and two in Vars. In addition, multiple online and paper surveys were conducted bringing in over 1700 responses.
The financial implications of the recommendations documented in the NPI plans have yet to be determined. Through the implementation phase of the pilots, staff will assess and identify as part of future budget processes, the costs associated with implementing the priority recommendations documented in each neighbourhood plan.
There are no legal/risk management impediments to implementing the recommendations in this report.
See Document 1 for rural implications in Vars.
COMMENTS BY THE WARD COUNCILLOR (S)
Councillor Christine Leadman – Hintonburg/Mechanicsville Neighbourhood Plan
The Neighbourhood Planning Initiative (NPI) piloted in the Hintonburg/Mechanicsville neighbourhoods was embraced as a community building partnership with the City of Ottawa. It was a demonstration of a new corporate structure that would bring about a more efficient and effective approach to addressing the unique needs of a community while breaking down the internal barriers among city departments. The NPl has also been cited by the City Manager in the recent corporate restructuring in developing our new service delivery model.
City staff, residents, community stakeholders, service providers and my office dedicated countless hours working together on the NPI in conjunction with an area Community Design Plan and a major infrastructure project along its main corridor. As a result of these concurrent projects several of the key recommendations have already been put into action. The NPI document that has been developed as a result of this work will be an invaluable tool for how we move forward with our communities in the future. Its place within the city policy framework will be an important step in our efforts in delivering services to our communities through a better understanding of who they are and what are their needs.
Councillor Rob Jellett – Vars Neighbourhood Plan
I'd like to begin by thanking the residents of Vars and by thanking City staff and in particular Nancy Jackson, for their tireless and committed effort to making this a success.
It brought the residents of Vars together and brought them closer to the City. All are looking forward to advancing the recommendations.
Should the neighbourhood plan initiative continue in other areas of Ottawa, and I believe it should, then I offer a few suggestions for improving the process.
· Staff from various departments need to be more familiar with the neighbourhood plan process.
· More advance work should be done prior to meetings, with more prepared and detailed documents sent to residents in advance.
· The timeframe should definitely be shortened, 2 to 3 years is far too long as it leaves residents and staff wondering if there will ever be an end to it.
· And most importantly the process creates an expectation within the community that the recommendations will be carried out, and yet there is no funding associated with it. Frustrating for all.
CITY STRATEGIC PLAN
The Neighbourhood Planning process offers a planning framework in which the City and the community can consider and address all six Service Priorities and all three Transformation Priorities of the City Strategic Plan. Some examples of how the recommendations of the Hintonburg/Mechanicsville and Vars Neighbourhood Planning Initiatives relate to current strategic plan priorities are provided in the following table:
Improve the City’s transportation network.
Cycling lane in Hintonburg/ Mechanicsville
Achieve a 30 percent modal split.
· Pedestrian and cycling improvements in Hintonburg/Mechanicsville
· Bus shelter & sidewalk requests Vars
Close the gap on sanitary and storm sewer replacement.
Infrastructure work under Wellington St. West
Sustainable Healthy & Active City
Ensure that cultural and recreation programs are offered across a range of levels in such a way that every resident has a chance to participate.
· Vars–request to do a needs assessment related to programming.
· Hintonburg/Mechanicsville–retrofit of Hintonburg Community Centre
Commit to and develop a democratic, engaging, and visible process.
Both NP projects were predicated on this principle.
Become a financially sustainable city.
Example of community centre in Vars: must clarify need before spending funds
Neighbourhood Planning is a method of working holistically with communities, and in this way it provides an opportunity to collaboratively consider and address all priorities identified in the City Strategic Plan.
Document 1 Vars Neighbourhood Plan (issued separately and held on file with the City Clerk)
Document 2 Hintonburg/Mechanicsville Neighbourhood Plan (issued separately and held on file with the City Clerk)
Subject to the approval of this report, staff in the Community Sustainability Department will implement Recommendations 2 and 3 of this report.