Indian Point neighbourhood gets first of several close looks by planning department as city creeps toward a new Official Plan.

The Indian Point meeting was called to do a “character” study of the community; to learn what it was that made that part of Burlington a “neighbourhood” and what could be done to ensure that the features of the community were maintained and protected.

Krushelnicki set the tone with a brief introduction to how the evening would roll out and then Anne McIlroy, a principle with the urban planning firm of Brook McIlroy, went through an exercise that took the pulse of the room: What mattered? What didn’t matter?  How long have you lived there? What kind of a vision do you have for the enclave?

Each of the five discussion groups were given a large sheet of paper with pictures of the community and asked to discuss their thoughts, hope and aspirations for the community. “Dialogue with your neighbours: urged city planner Bruce Krushelnicki.

After the pulse was taken – and there were some surprising differences discovered, the people at the four tables worked with a large drawing that had photographs of the community and a bunch of questions.  Each table reported on what they wanted to say and then they all went home.  During the table discussions McIlroy wandered from table to table with a plate of cookies – it was that kind of meeting.

Planner Krushelnicki told the meeting his staff were not sure how many neighbourhoods there were in the city. “We are still identifying them”.  During the first “neighbourhood” meeting at Tansley Woods many said that Tansley Woods wasn’t a neighbourhood and that no one said they “lived in Tansley Woods” but people would say they lived in Millcroft or Headon.  It was at this meeting the planners realized the city didn’t fully understand its neighbourhoods.

As the approaches to the Official Plan Review were being put in place Councillor Craven asked the Planning department to focus on Indian Point for a character study which was defined as a close look at what it is that made a community.  Was it the street patterns; was it the topography; was it the form of housing that gave a community its character?

This was new ground for Burlington and they brought in Brook McIlroy,  an urban planning consulting firm Krushelnicki has worked with frequently in the past.  They were to do the “character studies” with Indian Point being the first and Roseland sometime in the very near future.  Others may follow.

Once the consultants have determined the “character” of a community, which includes the views of the people who live there, reports get written.  When there are a number of reports completed the planners will have a sense of what the city has in the way of neighbourhoods and what the people in those neighbourhoods want – or don’t want in the way of development.

Krushelnicki told the meeting  it was important that any development “fit into the community “ –  words for which the people on Ghent Street would have died to hear when a major development – 8 homes and more than 100 trees being replaced by 58 townhouses, was approved for that Street.

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