Posts tagged ‘Planning’

London: “We need to have pilot projects up and running. We want to be leaders, not followers.”

The city is moving ahead as quickly as possible to get a solar panel pilot project started on public buildings.

The city’s investment and economic prosperity committee will on Monday ask an outside company, Ameresco Canada, to put together a plan that will give green energy companies a framework to bid on solar panel projects.

In July, London-based solar energy company German Solar Corp. told the committee they were ready to mount panels on 10 city rooftops as part of a pilot project.

The project would create 337 jobs in eight years, 219 skilled-labour jobs and 108 operations and maintenance positions in 20 years, the company president predicted.

Another 1,200 jobs would be created indirectly, the company said.

“We’ve had two or three companies that are interested in putting panels on public property,” said Joe Swan, chair of the investment and economic prosperity committee.

“We need to come up with a licensing fee to lease the space, figure out the cost of installation and the return on investment.

“The marketplace is ready to implement these and the city hasn’t developed a framework.”

Ameresco Canada will develop the framework so the project gets off the ground, Swan said.

“This got support from council to move as quickly as possible,” Swan said.

“We need to have pilot projects up and running. We want to be leaders, not followers, in this.”

Source: The London Free Press


September 9, 2012 at 5:38 pm Leave a comment

Region Not Happy After Large Transportation Analysis

Local politicians want to see Waterloo Region better represented in an analysis of long-term transportation needs at the provincial level.

Regional councillors voted last week to advise the Ministry of Transportation that a currently under development transportation strategy for the GTA and areas to the west “will not provide sufficient infrastructure for the long term to connect Waterloo Region, Wellington County and the City of Guelph to the Greater Toronto Area”.

The strategy aims to reduce congestion on Highway 401 by expanding the highway to 12 lanes near Mississauga, but the region takes issue with the lack of a new connection between Toronto and Waterloo Region.

“Any kind of incident on [the 401] would make it difficult for goods movements between the two areas and also commuter traffic,” said Graham Vincent, the region’s director of transportation planning.

The region is also lobbying the ministry to increase GO Transit train service to Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge, include the region in an upcoming provincial traffic management study, and hold off on any final decisions until the completion of a Waterloo-Wellington-Brant regional transportation study.

“We believe that could go a long ways toward offloading some of the traffic congestion along the 401. We see that as a key element of the entire package,” said Vincent of GO Transit expansion.

Source: The Cambridge Times

September 6, 2012 at 11:25 pm Leave a comment

Rediscovering Dickson Street

These days there are few if any stores available on Dickson Street, as more businesses flock to the Galt core.

Ben Schmalz and Emily Pederson are the latest entrepreneurs to establish themselves on Dickson, opening One Rebellion just last week. It’s an upscale clothing store catering to people over the age of 30.

“We’ve had so much traffic this week and people are so happy to see the store because there is nothing else quite like it down here,” said manager Pederson.

“We grew up in Galt, and I was looking to expand the business,” said Schmalz, who also operates a store in Dundas. “I took a look around and I was impressed with the revitalization that’s taking place in downtown. I loved the architecture and the ambiance. It was the perfect fit for us.”

Merryn Edgar, Patricia Cooley and Jennifer Gralec all opened their businesses the same day two years ago and became known as the “Dickson chicks”, following a television story on their enterprises.

Edgar runs Gallery M, an art shop that features works of many local artists.

“We’ve been doing really well since we opened and today I just sold two paintings, so it’s a big day for us,” she said.

In each area of the shop, Edgar has worked to bring together pieces of art that complement each other. In a similar way, she said each of the new businesses on Dickson Street does the same thing.

“There is a good mix of businesses down here. We do a lot of cross promoting and a lot of scratching each others’ backs when we can,” she said.

When Jennifer Gralec returned to work after having children, she decided that if she had to be away from her girls it would be to do something she loved. Baking is her passion and Tiny Cakes, her baking boutique, is a labour of love.

Since opening in December 2010, Tiny Cakes has become a regular stop for many people working on Dickson Street.

Gralec, like many of the other new businesses on Dickson Street, has used social media to get the word out on their businesses.

“I religiously post on Facebook, so people know what’s going on.”

Re New owner Patricia Cooley knew she had the right place when she walked into the office.

“This is a great space and with that big front window, it just called to me,” she said.

Re New is a medical laser and skin care aesthetics business, operating on the second floor of 65 Dickson St., across from city hall.

When Edit Kasza decided to move from St. Catharines and open her new business, she looked no further than Cambridge.

“I came for a visit and I absolutely love it here, especially Galt. I love all the architecture. It’s like a tiny, tiny version of Budapest.”

Kasza opened Edit Design Inc. in November and says the outdoor/indoor kitchen studio is slowly getting going.

“It’s taken time, but people are discovering I’m here,” she said. “You really have to see my studio to understand what I do.”

Eighty per cent of her business comes from outside of Cambridge, so her studio is becoming a destination for clients.

Baldeep Duggal can say the same thing of Phildon Pens.

“We’re one of a handful of pen shops in the country. We have local clients, but we are a destination for people who love pens and paper.”

Phildon Pens has been on Dickson Street for four years and Duggal sees a difference with the new businesses arriving.

“They are all small business owners who all  have good business plans. They all try to offer unique products and good services. When you have small businesses there is a certain sense of pride that you don’t see in big box stores.”

Decorators Kim Turner and Michelle Jones, who met at the Cambridge Centre for the Arts, opened The Relique Studio on Dickson Street. After teaming up to refinish a dining room suite, the pair went for coffee at Tiny Cakes and their concept of opening a shop evolved.

“As we were talking we were watching people come into the shop and realized these people could all be our customers. That’s when we started looking for a shop,” Jones said.

The shop opened eight months ago and there is no lack of business.

Bill Schwarz has been practicing law and painting in the Galt core since 1969.

“We used to have our law office on Dickson Street and things are really changing. I think the work that David (Gibson) is doing on Main Street has brought a lot of attention to the downtown.

“I think we’ve seen more change in the last 18 months than we’ve seen in the last 40 years. It’s really great to see.”

Source: The Cambridge Times

September 6, 2012 at 11:18 pm Leave a comment

Hespeler Road is Among the Worst Places in the World for Pedestrians

I agree 100% with Planning Pool regarding their recent recommendation that Hespeler Road be named the third worst road in the world!

Oh the ugly chain store strip!

When the site called the Planning Pool put out the call for nominations Hespeler Road was selected as number three on a list of five.

The most unwalkable places are: Eagle Bend in Jacksonville Florida, Amman, the capital of Jordan, Hespeler Road in Cambridge, Tysons Corner in Fairfax Country Virginia, and Arlington Texas.

Denis Agar nominated Hespeler Road. Agar, who studies urban planning at Ryerson University in Toronto, got to know Hespeler Road while attending the University of Guelph. “It is built for the car not for pedestrians and that’s the problem,” Agar said in a telephone interview. It is a stunning landscape of unremitting sprawl, strip malls, big box stores and parking lots, Agar said.

Hespeler Road carries on average 11,000 to 40,000 vehicles a day, depending on where you are on this long stretch of arterial road. Between 2004 and 2008 there were 45 people struck by vehicles on that roadway. In terms of volume it is in the top 10 per cent of regional roads, Bob Henderson, the region’s manager of transportation engineering, said.

“There is a real move afoot to improve walkability on all our roads—the philosophy has changed,” Henderson. The region did not want to create another Hespeler Road when it recently considered changes to Franklin Boulevard, which runs parallel to Hespeler Road. Drivers called for more lanes and traffic lights at intersections along Franklin. The region rejected that and opted for 11 roundabouts that are safer for pedestrians, and move more vehicles through intersections at slower speeds than traffic lights. When writing about Hespeler Road for the Planning Pool, Agar called it an urban form that we are all familiar with—the chain-store strip.

“I chose Hespeler Road because it has a feeling of endlessness to it. It’s the primary retail centre for a city of 120,000 and it is entirely devoid of public space or atmosphere of any kind,” wrote Agar.

“In 1973, the three towns of Hespeler, Galt, and Preston were merged by the provincial government into what is now Cambridge. All three continue to be small, pleasant walkable communities. But the triangular area between the three became wide open for development, and now we have a city centred around five kilometres of unadulterated sprawl,” Agar wrote. Cities and developers have no more excuses and nobody should be approving and building more Hespeler roads, Agar said in an interview. “We can blame developers from the past, we can blame municipal politicians from the past, but they thought they were doing what was best for their city,” Agar said. “We know better now.”

The City of Cambridge is now reviewing its Official Plan—a massive document that governs land use in the city. And the Ontario government will require all cities to focus at least 40 per cent of new development within existing neighbourhoods by 2015 with its anti-sprawl legislation called Places to Grow.

These provide opportunities to make Hespeler Road a better place flanked by high-density-mixed-use communities serviced by rapid transit, Ken Hoyle, a landscape architect and urban planner, said. “The opportunity is there but I can’t see the City of Cambridge taking advantage of that opportunity,” Hoyle said. Hoyle, who owns a private firm, concurs with the planning students who selected Hespeler Road as one of the most unwalkable places around. “It is a classic example of bad planning,” Hoyle said. “I think it is one of the ugliest roads in North America. From a sustainability perspective it is one of the most unsustainable roads in North America,” Hoyle said. For the most part cities react to proposals from developers, Hoyle said. “We leave it to the developers,” Hoyle said. “There are no initiatives to begin to transform Hespeler Road through a planning process.”

Can the next generation of urban planners, those who currently in university correct the multi-lane blunders of the past?

Agar wants to.

He decided to study urban planning after watching a 2004 documentary called The End of Suburbia — a scathing critique of car-dependent sprawl in an era of declining oil supplies. “In high school I had no idea what urban planning was,” Agar said. For Agar urban planning embraces a lot of his interests — geography, politics and the environment.

But Agar said urban-planning students get mixed messages from university faculty. High-density, mixed-use developments that are walkable and supported by public transit use less land, save energy and are easier to service, they are told in theory classes.

But most developers and municipalities approve new car-dependent suburbs with mostly single-detached homes. “On one hand we are being prepared for the job market and places that are building Hespeler Roads — that is planted in our minds,” Agar said.

Source: &

March 23, 2010 at 7:09 pm Leave a comment

Fanshawe College to Move to London’s Downtown? YES PLEASE!

A downtown Fanshawe College campus could produce greater economic spinoffs than the John Labatt Centre, arguably the highest-profile piece of the city’s core-revitalization efforts. That’s the reaction of Bob Usher, chairperson of Downtown London, to the proposed Fanshawe campus that could become the heart of a potential education and arts district. “I think it’s as important as the JLC, or more so,” Usher, who runs Covent Garden Market, said Tuesday. “This is every day — students and staff and people coming in to participate.” He also added that, “JLC is hit and miss, some days we have it, some days we don’t. You’re not at the whim of ‘what’s the next big rock band (coming in).’ ”

London is working with Fanshawe College on a downtown campus housed in heritage buildings, a plan that’s potentially the final major piece of city hall’s effort to revitalize the core. The proposed plan, which would be rolled out during the next decade with $10 million in city subsidies, is the backbone of a hoped-for education and arts district city officials want to turn into a tourism hub. Because it would cost Fanshawe more to renovate old downtown buildings than to build new structures elsewhere, the city has proposed a subsidy of up to $10 million to help cover those extra costs.

The proposed district, focused on Dundas and Richmond streets, would be bounded by Talbot, Kent, Clarence streets and just of south Dundas St. to Market Lane. “We’re not looking for one big, contiguous block,” said Bernice Hull, the college’s vice-president of administration. “We’re really focusing on the district concept.” Fanshawe, looking for as much as 100,000 sq. ft. for an eventual 1,000 students in a so-called School for Applied and Performance Arts, is interested in underused or empty “heritage-type” buildings to buy and renovate.

Fanshawe now offers its theatre arts program in the former Galleria mall, now CitiPlaza, where its lease lasts another five years, but needs additional space to offer new theatre-related programs. Fanshawe also is eager to partner with professional arts groups, specifically the Grand Theatre and Orchestra London, to create mentoring and other opportunities for its students. The city proposal, heading to council’s board of control Wednesday, would see those Fanshawe spaces also used on nights and weekends for youth-focused arts events, creating a potential tourism magnet.

Personally, I think the district should be bound by Dundas, Wellington, York and Richmond Streets. There are so many derelict and under utilized buildings in this area than for the area they are proposing… Bring some life back to other parts of the downtown!

Source(s): and

February 11, 2010 at 1:11 pm Leave a comment

New City of Kitchener Official Plan

The City of Kitchener is updating its Official Plan. An Official Plan is a document that contains objectives and policies to manage a city’s growth and change, advise how land can be used, protect the natural environment and ensure the timely provision and adequacy of services. An Official Plan is typically directed at land use and physical development of the city. In the last several years, the province and region have approved new planning policies and direction that require local municipalities to update their Official Plans.

A public meeting will be held to obtain preliminary ideas or suggestions to be considered in drafting the new Kitchener Official Plan. This will be the first in a series of public consultation sessions that will be announced throughout the process. The meeting will take place during the Development and Technical Services Committee meeting on:

MONDAY, MARCH 8th, 2010 at 7:00 P.M.

Source: City of Kitchener

January 30, 2010 at 12:21 pm Leave a comment

A Call to Design: Dunbar Collective

Dunbar Collective: Site Location

Dunbar Collective: Site Location

I want to ask you the readers if you have a design solution for this location?

I want to create a green technology showcase property for City of Cambridge and hopefully this can be a catalyst project for the rest of Hespeler Road. Maybe this project could be included in the Mayor’s new “green” agenda?!

This project will create some much needed infill and intensification development as well as showcase new technologies through building design, energy systems and sustainability.

Perhaps work towards a LEED certified building(s)?

Site Details

Size: Unknown (I do not have the proper tools at home to calculate it!)

Current Zoning: Commercial, I’m assuming “automotive related”

Potential Zoning: Live/Work units

Transit: iXpress and GRT transit stops already in place at Cambridge Centre Mall, located relatively close to the 401

Other Details:

  • More than likely a low-level brownfield site
  • Gas station used to be located on corner of Dunbar Road and Hespeler Road
  • Several automotive related services were located on properties south of Dunbar, but before the recently closed Galt Chrysler Car Dealership
  • “Junky” flea market located at corner of Can-Amera Parkway and Hespeler Road
  • YMCA is across the street
  • Dumfries Conservation Area located across the street, approximate size of 75 hectares
  • New residential towers built at Dunbar and Conestoga Boulevard
  • Regional Shopping Centre (Cambridge Centre Mall) located across the street

I’m going to work on drafting some concepts, but I would also love to see your work too!

October 7, 2009 at 6:16 pm 3 comments

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