Sunday, November 4, 2018

Time to ReThink London with proposed official plan

Sprawling community should be growing upwards not outwards
Forest City considers first master plan since 1989
By Mark Schadenberg
LONDON – It's transition time in London.
Industrial development folks at city hall want the city to grow right up against the 401 with commercial construction bringing in jobs.
New residential areas also abound.
The so-called SoHo district around the closed South Street hospital will be transformed over the next 10 years, but what is the best way to take advantage of the Thames River in this neighbourhood and all areas of London?
If you're involved in the entertainment scene in London, you're hoping for a new performing arts centre just north of the Budweiser Gardens, which would replace Centennial Hall.
London has often discussed a ring road to assist transportation north around the Veterans Memorial Parkway, then west somewhere past the Arva area, and then moving southwest to Highway 402. The proposed official plan covers planes, trains and automobiles, plus bicycles and joggers.
After about two years of public meetings, submissions and suggestions, discussions, map drawings, and pondering zoning possibilities, the plan is now written in ink, and it's called ReThink London. The ink is not dry, however, as many changes could be edited in during the next session of public consultation
The ReThink master plan was officially unveiled on Thursday, May 22, and includes demographic and growth projections, and a lot of concrete ideas about where concrete can be added. The London Free Press story (link below) calculates that as many as 10,000 Londoners participated in the process through surveys, social media (including Facebook), public meetings and simply emailing comments.
Sub-titled: Exciting, Exceptional, Connected, the document depicts a new London – the first official plan for The Forest City since 1989.
“The content is the content we heard from Londoners. We wrote it, but it was very much informed by the past two years,” said Gregg Barrett, manager of city planning in the LFP.
The program starts with what is described as the 12 'big ideas'.
The big ideas are diverse, including transportation (roads, but also cycling trails), attracting employment (talent and investment), regenerating urban main streets (their terminology), environment protection (green city), planning new subdivisions, promoting a community rich in both culture and diversity, and growing inward and upward (less sprawling).
As a Realtor this 'inward and upward' practice is promoted by the province of Ontario as they encourage both intensification and re-developing older builders into apartments or other residential uses. (See attached jpeg).
Process Progresses
Keep in mind, London city council has not approved the 411-page plan, and a further public meeting is set for June 23.
As is noted on Page 5 of the essay 'Planning For Change and Our Challenges Ahead' is another summary. Noting today's London population as 381,000, the report projects the 2035 full-time resident count to be 458,000.
From Page 3 of the draft plan:

London is on the cusp of a new chapter in its history where these and many more questions are again being confronted by its citizens. For two years, thousands of Londoners participated in the ReThink London process - a widespread community discussion which, at its core, focused on the fundamental question “what kind of city do we want to live in 20 years from now?

ReThink London has arrived for everyone's perusal.
In Woodstock, the community is preparing to ink a new recreational needs assessment and it will be penned and coordinated by the consulting group Monteith Brown. More on that vision in a future writing.


Mark Schadenberg, Sales Representative
Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES designation)
Royal LePage Triland Realty
757 Dundas St, Woodstock
(519) 537-1553, cell or text
Twitter: markroyallepage
Facebook: Mark Schadenberg, Royal LePage Triland

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