City of Kitchener Ponders Growth Through 2031

December 2, 2008 at 12:52 pm Leave a comment

This city is planning now for a population that is expected to increase by 100,000 by 2031.

And that means several neighbourhoods will be targeted for high-density housing and mixed-use developments, city councillors were told Monday.

Staff tabled a draft Kitchener’s growth management strategy.

Coun. John Gazzola wondered if the projected increase of 100,000 people is realistic.

“What s it based on? How good of a figure is that?” he asked.

Alain Pinard, the city s interim director of planning, assured him the population projection is sound.

“Although the numbers do seem high at first glance, they are only slightly higher than our highest growth years,” Pinard said.

Kitchener’s population was 215,000 in 2006.

During the past five years the city has added about 1,750 new units of housing, Brandon Sloan, a senior planner, said.

“If you took the last five years and projected it forward at the same rate we would hit that number,” Sloan said.

But Sloan does not want city councillors and residents to focus on whether 100,000 new residents are added by 2031.

“Whether your hit that number in growth projections in 2031 or 2051 or 2071, doesn’t it make sense to plan for it now, so if and when it does happen we have the best plan in place?”

Provincial legislation, called Places to Grow, requires every municipality in Ontario have plans in place that will, beginning in 2015, direct 40 per cent of all new growth into existing neighbourhoods.

The objective is to reduce urban sprawl, ease traffic congestion, improve air quality and create more density, with walkable neighbourhoods, mixed-use developments and superior public transit.

“Kitchener tomorrow will be more walkable, more transit-supported, more urban,” Sloan said.

The city’s urban planners have ear-marked about 47 different neighourhoods for what they call intensification — a variety of housing types mixed with stores and professional services.

These areas include downtown Kitchener, which expects 10,000 new residents or jobs by 2031, the area around Fairway Road and King Street East, King Street West, Queen Street from Joseph Street to the rail line, the neighbourhood around Frederick Street as it crosses the expressway and the area around Highland and Westmount roads.

“We have already identified the areas that are most suitable for intensification,” Pinard said in an interview.

“Good urban design can go a long way to address concerns with intensification.”

Copies of the draft growth management plan can be found on the city’s website. Council and staff are looking for feedback from residents before adopting a final version of the plan in January.

Source: Waterloo Region Record

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Entry filed under: Kitchener. Tags: , , .

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