City plan already proving to be a valuable tool

Published on Tuesday, 27 February 2024 07:53

It was years in development, but even though it was only officially adopted at the City’s last regular meeting, Feb. 12, Dauphin’s new development plan is already proving it’s worth.

City manager Sharla Griffiths said administration has already referred to the document last week when answering a query from a ratepayer regarding beautification of a boulevard space.

“A request came to us a week or so before we knew that the document was going to be approved and so we said, ‘can you just hang on a week?’ We got the document approved on Feb. 12, and then later that week we were able to approve the request,” she said.

Required under the Municipal Act, the plan, which replaces one adopted in 2012, serves as a framework for formulating development policies and decisions, identifying factors relevant to the use and development of land, identifying critical problems and opportunities concerning the development of land, setting forth desired timing patterns and characteristics of future development of land, establishing and specifying the programs and actions necessary for the implementation of a development plan, outlining the methods whereby the best use and development of land and other resources in adjacent municipalities, districts or affected areas may be co-ordinated and identifying those matters of government concern which affect the use and development of land and other resources within the municipality.

“It’s an overarching document of how we operate our community. It’s more than just a development plan. The title is City Plan,” Griffiths said. “Usually a development plan looks about five or so years into the future. This looks 20 plus years into the future. I don’t want to say it’s part of a strategic plan or partly strategic plan, but it’s definitely a longer term thinking for us.”

The 112-page document will serve as a framework to move the community ahead in six identified areas - community and innovation, climate leadership and resilience, health and well-being, housing and neighbourhoods, local economy and tourism, and truth and reconciliation.

“Those are really big goals that talk more than just what our neighbourhoods look like, but really what our community will look like or what we want it to look like. It really does set the tone and set the vision of our community, of where we want to go,” Griffiths said. “Some of the goals, or the action items, or objectives in the report help us to actually quantify and take action.”

And beyond that, Griffiths said, the process itself proved to be extremely beneficial.

“I think that there’s nothing new here it’s just more formalized. But going through the process of developing the city plan allowed us to talk in a more structured format about some of these things, so that’s a real benefit,” she said.

To push the process further down the road, Griffiths said the City will now examine its Zoning Bylaw to ensure there are no conflicts.

“To make sure that the development plan, or the city plan, and the zoning bylaw are talking and have the same goals.” she said. “If you’re looking at it, the city plan is one level above and the zoning bylaw feeds into it.”

The process will be similar to the one used to formulate the city plan, with an outside consultant contracted to lead the process.

“We did it in-house back in 2014-15 and now we’re going to look for some outside expertise,” Griffiths said. “And make sure that we get into the community and hear what people have to say.”

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Published in Dauphin Herald News