July 12th, 2024

Victoria Park open house shares vision for Area Redevelopment Plan

By Nicholas Allen - for the Lethbridge Herald on April 29, 2022.

Herald photo by Nicholas Allen Lethbridge residents take part in the open house earlier this week at Casa as part of the community outreach involved with the Victoria Park Area Redevelopment Plan.

Lethbridge residents with a connection to the Victoria Park Area Redevelopment Plan were invited to an in-person open house at the Casa Community Room on Wednesday.
The purpose of the Victoria Park Area Redevelopment Plan is to provide a future vision for the area and guidance on where growth and change make sense and how it can most appropriately be integrated. 
Community planner for the City of Lethbridge, Genesis Hevia Orio, was in attendance to answer the questions and concerns of residents in the area. She explained the impact the planning carries for mature neighbourhoods that are experiencing redevelopment.
Redevelopment can be in the form of a single attached housing being demolished and something new being built, or a commercial building being replaced by something else.
“The intent of ARP (Area Redevelopment Plan) is to ensure that the neighbourhood and residence experience are captured and that those experiences inform policies that will make up the area development plan,” said Orio. “At the end, we’ll have a document that has specific policies for things that developers need to consider before they build something.”
According to Orio, this ensures that there is certainty for both the residents and people of the community in terms of what they can expect before redevelopment in their area. She said the ARP provides certainty for developers because they will be able to see the expectations of future development plans.
“This is only the first of many future sessions that we’ll be hosting to inform the area redevelopment plan,” said Orio. “To understand where the neighbourhood has been in terms of experiences, positive or negative, and what they hope to see in the future.”
Chair of the ARP Committee, Diane Randell, is part of the group working with the city to ensure the community is engaged in the process and to make sure the questions are asked and to review some of the things that come forward. The ARP Committee includes people who live and work throughout the plan area, an important part of planning according to Randell.
“Until you live in an area, you don’t know what the issues are, but more importantly, what are the possibilities? What’s missing? What are the gaps?” said Randell.
After the first open house, there will be topic specific sessions including transportation and green spaces, explained Orio. She said that many are commenting on the bike lanes and how it is important to move around the community.
“We’ve also heard that they really enjoy community life [such as] meeting with their neighbours and attending community events,” said Orio. “That shows that it’s a neighbourhood where we have long-term residents that are not there because of how the neighbourhood looks, they are there because of how the neighbourhood feels.”
According to Randell, making everyone feel welcomed and included is important to the community.
“It’s about ensuring that our neighbourhood creates a sense of belonging and wellbeing,” said Randell.
This is one of many future engagements planned by the City of Lethbridge, according to Orio, who said they want to ensure the plan is suitable for everyone living in the area.
For anyone who was not able to attend the open house, there will be an opportunity to provide feedback online through the Victoria Park Area Redevelopment Plan website.

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