Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could alter the look and feel of your town with the click of a mouse?
Now you can! The Town, as part of a routine upgrade to its long-range planning, has launched a survey to gauge the public’s vision for city planning and by-laws into the future.
A municipal Official Plan and Zoning By-Law is required by the province to go under review every five to 10 years. The last one was adopted by council in 2012, so the process has begun again, to refresh the direction of the Town’s development. For Fort Frances residents, the public portion launched with an open house, which was held October 13. A handful of residents and stakeholders, with interests in commercial development, low income housing and greenspace preservation were in attendance, and the public at large is invited to take place in an online visioning survey. The input from the survey, along with meetings with stakeholders, Town staff, council, committees, land developers, technical agencies and Indigenous communities, will help guide the new Official Plan and Zoning By-Law document to completion. The Town has contracted consulting firm WSP to assist in the process. They are working with Town administration to create a draft document, which will be presented to the public and town council for approval in the winter of 2023.
In this initial public consultation – a visioning survey – residents are asked to imagine what their town should look like over the next 25 years. It explores topics such as housing types, intensification, amenities, parkland and parking.
A growing trend in Official Plans has been an increase in the diversity of housing and housing density, noted Matt Alexander, Sr Planner for WSP.
“Many of these plans were created 30 years ago, when everything was single family homes,” he noted at the public open house. “That’s something we’re seeing change.”
He noted that although by-laws and Official Plans can seem dry and foreign to many residents, the information they contain shape the way we interact with our town on a daily basis, such as where apartment buildings are most appropriate, what our neighbourhoods look like, where parks should be and what amenities are most important to us. The opinions that residents express now will help shape the community for the next few decades, he said.
The public is urged to take part in the process, by completing the visioning survey. It will be available until midnight on Friday, October 28.
The survey is linked to the Town of Fort Frances’ website under Planning and Development, inside the New Official Plan and Zoning By-law tab. It’s also available on the Town of Fort Frances Facebook page, or type into your browser:
Anyone with comments or concerns should direct them to Cody Vangel, Transportation Superintendent and Municipal Planner for the Town of Fort Frances. He can be reached at 807-274-9893 ext 1312 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.