Smarter Neighbourhoods Make Stronger Communities

Peaceful Modern NeighborhoodTo build Spruce Grove into a desirable city that we are all proud to call home, that starts right in your local community. Neighbours who are invested in and proud of their neighbourhoods generally have a better sense of happiness and engagement in the community. When neighbours watch out for each other, it translates into safer communities. Safer and engaged communities turn the city into a more desirable place to live and will entice new residents.

In addition to making communities more conducive to social engagement, it is important to consider things like access for emergency services as well as school bus and public transit services. Neighbourhoods need to be planned in such a way to ensure a smooth and contiguous flow of not only vehicle traffic, but also other modes of transportation like biking or walking. Subdivision planning also needs to account for future growth by thinking not just about the subdivision being planned, but planning for the next one and making sure that the services that traverse the first can successfully feed the second and distribute those costs accordingly.

The role of council in this is to adhere to the guidelines set out in the Strategic Plan and the follow-on Municipal Development Plan. These documents outline key elements in any new community development such as consideration for transit and other modes of transportation, inclusion of “indoor and outdoor gathering space” and neighbourhood commercial development. All of these principles must be considered as developers look to create new neighbourhoods or rejuvenate existing ones. Council must evaluate the plans put forth by developers and hold developers accountable to the standards and strategic plan that the city has in place.

In the spirit of these guidelines, I have a few ideas that I would like to see city council drive for the betterment of our communities:

  • Additional Community Garden projects like the one on King Street. The current Community Garden was the result of many great community organizations and we can continue to work with those or even look to other organizations or businesses that may want to sponsor or otherwise contribute to these excellent community projects.
  • Encourage and foster local gathering spots like neighbourhood pubs or coffee shops where residents can gather without needing to commute long distances.
  • Ensure that all new community developments are built with an eye to future growth. This includes accounting for emergency services, transit and other forms of transportation, as well as considering how we can proactively build out for future neighbourhood growth beyond just the current development.

The Spruce Grove Strategic Plan and related planning documents lay out the design principles for new development in the city. As an engineer, I take these to heart and will strive to consider these guiding conventions while endeavouring to incorporate other important elements such as the ones I’ve listed above.

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