The city hosted the first of four neighbourhood planning meetings Tuesday night, fielding questions from a small but inquisitive crowd at John Diefenbaker School.
While residents didn't raise major concerns during the open question period, but Craig Guidinger, the city’s head of planning and development services, said individual one-on-one discussions led to productive dialogue.
“Snow removal came up a little bit, and police, and there is lots of interest around public works and where those expenditures are going,” he said. “I got a couple questions on Central Ave. and that redesign.”
The night began with presentations from several department heads, who outlined their major projects over the past year and what is on the books for future development. Topping his list, Guidinger said public feedback will be important during the redevelopment of Central Ave. He said downtowns often play a role as the heart of a community, and any changes to them can have wide-ranging effects.
“That is an entire city initiative,” he said. “We are going to be looking at businesses and property owners and homeowners to help us make those decisions.”
Some in attendance were unhappy with continued tax increases, though after looking across the province many acknowledged the issue could be worse. Others expressed a desire to see greater investment in facilities for youth, but gave the city an eight-out-of-ten when asked how they felt their tax dollars were being well spent.
Attendance at the meeting was lower than Guidinger wanted, but he noted there are still three more opportunities for residents to come out and have their voices heard.
“Attendance is always something we want to work on,” he said. “There are always ways we can improve, and there is still more opportunity to have those discussions.”
The remaining meetings take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 15 at Arthur Pechey School, Tuesday, March 20 at East End Hall and Wednesday, March 21 at Parkland Community Hall.
Editor's Note: This story was updated at 12:24 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 to clarify a comment by Guidinger.
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