Planning Processes and Public Consultation

The process cities follow to make policy and planning decisions has a big impact on public trust. Decisions made at the municipal level often have a direct impact on daily life, and there is a growing interest, expectation and ability to participate in local decision making processes. We recognize that engaging with the public gives us a greater range of perspectives on an issue, which can lead to better decisions and improve our community’s understanding of why those decisions were made. Open and transparent processes can show that community input and feedback, as well as available data and technical expertise, are all taken into account.

The Official Plan review is an opportunity to review our engagement policies and methods make sure they meet the requirements and accessibility needs of the legislation and our community. The city can also consider how to increase the opportunities for meaningful engagement, and help overcome some of the barriers that prevent people from participating.

More detail is available in the Planning Processes and Public Consultation issue brief, including:

Existing Conditions/Initiatives

  • Public engagement is a cornerstone of local planning and decision making
  • Engagement with key people, including those from underrepresented groups, can lead to more equitable and inclusive decision making
  • There is an opportunity to expand on and update the way the city engages with the public
  • Implementation beyond engagement

Strategic Directions

  • Encourage participation in land use planning processes by all sectors of the population, including people of different ethnic backgrounds, languages, cultures, ages and abilities
  • Enhance awareness and understanding of planning issues and decisions
  • Continue to provide sufficient opportunity for involvement by those affected by planning decisions
  • Ensure implementation tools and processes are updated

Policy Considerations

  • Clarify and simplify policies
  • Update engagement approaches
  • Identify where possible, the means, method and timing of public meetings, notices and other forms of engagement in advance of planning decisions
  • Consider a searchable and centralized location for planning applications
  • Modify policy to provide for alternative notice requirements
  • Review appropriateness of existing amendment formats
  • Clarify and update the types of studies that could be requested
  • Update municipal incentive policies related to Height and Density Bonusing.
  • Review Development Charges and Parkland Dedication policies
  • Integrate efficiencies/changes to planning process

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