October 31st, 2020

Council receives latest draft of Municipal Development Plan


By Jensen, Randy on June 24, 2020.

City council's Community Issues Committee listens to a presentation at Monday’s public meeting. Council debuted new plexiglass partitions between councillors to allow full public meetings to commence again in the post-COVID-19 period. Herald photo by Tim Kalinowski

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald

tkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

By their nature Municipal Development Plans are meant to be broad in scope and general in application as the main guiding/visioning document for the municipal corporation and the community.

They are traditionally aspirational documents which capture a static moment in time in community life. They, therefore, tend to need updating on a semi-regular basis as the values and mores of a community change, and often seem outdated even a few years after being completed despite the strenuous efforts put into them by municipal planning staff.

Not this time, says City of Lethbridge manager of planning Maureen Gaehring, who presented the latest draft of the City’s new MDP to city council’s Community Issues Committee meeting on Monday

“The way the format for this particular Municipal Development Plan is set up is it is a little bit more structured toward implementation,” she explained to reporters after her presentation to CIC. “Our current (2010) MDP is actually quite aspirational in terms of its focus, and that is one of the reasons we looked at changing some of the policy areas into actual outcomes. It’s a good change, we believe, because we can actually get a lot more specific with what we are asking for and then being able to measure those specificities a lot better.”

The new MDP, which now heads into its public consultation stage this summer before coming back to council for eventual adoption, will go beyond broad hopes and flowery language to become more “directive,” says Gaehring: not only stating what the community hopes to achieve in the next 10 years of the life of the document, but also recommending concrete policies to achieve those aspirations.

It will also attempt to act as a kind of living document which can be adjusted and refocused as desired outcomes are achieved, she says, instead of falling into the static mode of past MDPs.

“We will have directions and implementation sections as actions get done, and new actions can be added,” Gaehring states.

The new Municipal Development Plan will only be available for public viewing and feedback though the City’s Get Involved website due to COVID-19 restrictions this summer, but it might go to full open house this fall if the Alberta government lifts its public health restrictions.

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