The plan will guide development in a proactive manner by identifying policies and implementation strategies to ensure sustainable growth of the downtown as a high quality, liveable, transit-oriented regional town centre.
The plan will:
- Review land use/zoning policies
- Research innovative ways to provide public open space
- Foster adaptive reuse of heritage resources
- Identify options to mitigate the noise, air quality and connectivity issues relating to the regional goods movement corridor.
- Encourage public transit use in the more densely populated core
- Protecting open space and natural areas by focusing growth within existing urban areas
New Westminster development services planning analyst Eric Westberg sent me the following tips on how to get involved if sustainability is an issue that matters to you:
Read city council’s reports & share your feedback
The Draft Framework for the Downtown Sustainability Action Plan (a sub-component of the Downtown Community Plan) at this time is scheduled to go to Council on June 1. Based on this schedule, it will be publicly available with the weekly Council package on May 29 on the city’s website.
The consultant working on the project is HB Lanarc (read more info on the project and the selection of HB Lanarc in the April 6 Council report).
The Downtown Community Plan has a dedicated information page on the city’s website as well, with meeting notes and information dating back to summer 2007. You may also be interested to reach the city’s Corporate Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan (PDF file).
If you’d like to send feedback to the city, here’s who to contact:
- Downtown Sustainability Action Plan: Eric Westberg
- Other Downtown Plan topics: firstname.lastname@example.org
- City-wide environmental topics: Councillor Jaimie McEvoy
Attend upcoming public consultation meetings
Eric confirmed that there will be further public consultation meetings on the overall Downtown Community Plan coming up soon, however dates are TBD. If you’re interested to know when they will be, leave a comment on this post. At these meetings, there will be an opportunity for citizens to provide feedback on various sustainability issues, including one of New West’s big hot buttons: transportation.
Watch for further related city-wide environmental initiatives
With recent Provincial environmental legislation committing to a 33% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, New Westminster may follow the lead of cities like North Vancouver who have created city-wide sustainability vision statements and greenhouse gas local action plans. Further public consultation would be included in any such plan.
Join a city committee and/or NWEP
Councillor Jaimie McEvoy chairs New Westminster’s Environment Advisory Committee, which operates on a one-year term and meets every two months. If you’d like to sit in on a meeting of this committee, the next one is June 10 at 6:30pm at City Hall (either Committee Room 2 or Council Chamber).
You can see the complete list of citizen volunteer committees on the city’s website. The application process for the upcoming term will begin later this year.
Eric also recommended becoming involved through New Westminster Environmental Partners, headed by perennial Green candidate Matthew Laird (who is also on the Environment Committee).
- Joining a planning committee (areas of focus include energy, transportation and agriculture)
- Writing letters to local newspapers and politicians on sustainability issues (and I would add, guest post on Tenth To The Fraser!)
- Make a delegation to city council on key issues
- Demonstrate sustainable living in your own lifestyle
- Spread the word about environmental issues to friends & family