Nelson councillor questions planning trend

How much planning is too much? That's the question Councillor Bob Adams put to City Staff at a recent council meeting.

How much planning is too much? That’s the question Councillor Bob Adams put to City Staff at a recent council meeting.

Since 2007, the city has undertaken nine major planning initiatives, including the Water Master Plan, Sewer Master Plan, Active Transportation Plan, Affordable Housing Strategy, Path to 2040 Sustainability Strategy, Sustainable Waterfront and Downtown Master Plan, Corporate GHG Reduction Plan, Heritage Register, and the Community Energy and Emissions Action Plan. All of these individual plans are now being incorporated into a revision of the city’s main planning document: The Official Community Plan.

“When is it time to stop planning and start doing?” Adams asked.

City Manager Kevin Cormack said the recent surge in planning shows the current council’s willingness to be innovative and undertake new initiatives.

“We haven’t been standing still while these plans were being developed,” he said. “In many cases the planning is catching up with what we’ve already been doing.”

Councillor Candace Batycki said she’s been impressed with how far the city has come in implementing its plans and believes its time to start reporting out on progress.

“It’s not just council who set these goals, but members of the community — who are probably interested to know how we’re doing,” she said.

No one around the council table shared Adams’ concern about the number of planning documents.

Councillor Deb Kozak said she believes planning is necessary, particularly as we move into a future marked with uncertainty.

“We don’t know how things such as climate change are going to affect us, but we’re preparing for those changes and saying we’re going to adapt and try to mitigate those changes as much as possible,” she said.

Councillor Paula Kiss said the planning process is an important way for council to engage with local citizens and hear their feedback on what they want the city to look like down the road.

“For me personally, it was the harm reduction planning and sustainability planning that I participated in as a Nelson citizen that actually led me to run as council,” Kiss said.

The revised Official Community Plan is expected to be adopted later this year, pending the results of one final open house for residents to provide feedback. The date for the open house has not yet been set.

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