PRINCE GEORGE, September 15, 2009 – On Monday, September 14 Prince George’s Council sent a clear message in support of downtown by unanimously approving the Smart Growth on the Ground (SGOG) Downtown Prince George Concept Plan.
Created by the community, the SGOG Concept Plan outlines a vision of downtown Prince George in 2035. It is a downtown with housing options, a vibrant public realm, bike lanes, and a permanent Farmer’s Market. It is vision where Prince George is a leader in renewable energy and all members of the community are supported.
Central to the plan is a prominent green space and water feature that connects downtown to the Fraser River. Councillor Dave Wilbur was struck by the “grand, insightful vision” that identifies the rivers as core to the concept. “If we had that slip away, let the rivers just run by and not be identified, I think we would’ve missed a big opportunity,” he said. “But you didn’t. You made it core to your concept plan and I appreciate that.”
In his presentation to Council, Dan Milburn, the Manager of Long-Range Planning remarked on the collaborative nature in which this plan was created. “Throughout this process the partners have worked diligently to raise the necessary funds for this project, organize an extensive community consultation program, coordinate numerous researchers, and facilitate the creation of what I like to think of as a community plan for the downtown. For it truly was a community effort producing a community vision.”
The Concept Plan is the result of a year-long public engagement process that involved participation of over 500 citizens. Through five public workshops participants set priorities, targets and discussed ideas for invigorating downtown.
This citizen input was used to create the vision during a four-day, multi-stakeholder design event, called “a charrette,” held May 12-15, 2009. Over 40 people were on the charrette team including Mayor Dan Rogers, Councillors, City Staff, community stakeholders, researchers, and designers. Councillor Stolz, a member of the team, attested that “the people involved sweated blood and tears” to produce this vision. Several members of this team were in Council Chambers on Monday night to see the motion passed in support of the Concept Plan and the actions needed to make the vision a reality.
The Concept Plan was approved along with a recommendation to amend the Official Community Plan to “align the downtown vision, objectives and policies with the key concepts articulated in the Downtown Prince George Smart Growth on the Ground Concept Plan.” This will entrench the vision in policy and will guide implementation projects.
SGOG is a unique program formed by Smart Growth BC, The Real Estate Institute of British Columbia and the Design Centre for Sustainability. It was designed to help BC communities create more sustainable neighbourhood plans using community-specific solutions. Prince George joins Maple Ridge, Squamish and Greater Oliver as the fourth partner community to set a new standard for community planning and establish leadership among the municipalities of BC.
SGOG would like to thank our supporters: BC Heritage Branch, BC Hydro Powersmart, Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Green Streets Canada, Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Canada, Northern Development Initiative Trust, Prince George Community Foundation, Ramada Prince George, Transport Canada, and Vancity.
Smart Growth BC
Tel: 604.915.5234 ex.311