Did You Know ... The Town of Athabasca Sustainability Plan was finalized in March. The plan will act as a blueprint for rewriting the Municipal Development Plan and the Land Use Bylaw.

Town Councillor Lionel Cherniwchan (l) and Jane Dauphinee, a planner with Municipal Planning Services (Alberta) Ltd., discuss and make notes regarding various elements of development within the town during a TASP meeting in March.

Town of Athabasca Sustainability Plan

After many months of research that included municipal consultation and community input, the Town of Athabasca Sustainability Plan (TASP) was finalized and presented to Town Council for approval in March. The approved plan will now be used as a blueprint for rewriting the Town’s Municipal Development Plan and the Land Use Bylaw.

Jane Dauphinee, a planner with Municipal Planning Services (Alberta) Ltd., played a significant role in leading the TASP research, compiling the information and committing the results to a concise and presentable document.

“It has been a long road but we now have a final version of the Town of Athabasca Sustainability Plan,” said Jane early in March. “It is a true community plan in that the content of the document reflects the information and ideas expressed by Community Advisory Group members, focus group attendees, Town Council and Town staff. The vision, goals and objectives expressed by the community are contained within this plan.”

The purpose of the TASP is to give the community a shared action plan for building a sustainable, common future. Thriving communities are those that foster a culture of responsibility and every citizen, organization and institution in Athabasca is encouraged to get involved.

The TASP provides the structure necessary to guide the community towards achieving the sustainability goals and objectives that had been identified through the TASP development process. These objectives are centred around seven pillars of sustainability, defined as Community Well Being, Strong and Supportive Social Infrastructure, Environmental Integrity and Protection, Built Environment, Economic Prosperity, Transparent and Responsible Governance, and Community Co-ordination and Co-operation.

Collectively, these pillars provide a shared direction for the community to move along in an integrated and collective way.

The measure of the success of the TASP will be in the implementation. Attached to the document is an appendix containing a detailed implementation guide, intended to create the focus and direction necessary to ensure that the goals, objectives and strategies in the plan will be measureable, achievable and effective.

One example from the implementation guide, under the Community Well Being - Recreation heading, is Objective ‘A’ which states, “We provide all residents reasonable access to recreational properties.”

Each objective is accompanied by a list of strategies with corresponding implementation tools and indicators. The first strategy on the list for Objective ‘A’ is to “promote structured and unstructured recreational activities.” The corresponding implementation tool is to “develop regulations that allow for the creation of green spaces.” The corresponding indicator is to actually see “public green spaces distributed among neighbourhoods.”

The implementation guide goes on to provide a comprehensive list of goals, objectives, strategies, implementation tools and indicators for each of the seven defined pillars of sustainability.

Jane noted that the guide is a “working document” that will be subject to regular review and revision to help ensure that the implementation tools and targets are measureable and achievable, and that they will continue to reflect the community’s vision for Athabasca.

“The implementation guide will remain as a living document that can be used as an up-to-date action plan to help the community achieve its sustainability objectives,” said Jane.

Next step: Review of the Town Municipal Development Plan

Early in March, a TASP launch meeting was held at the Athabasca Regional Multiplex where Jane introduced the finalized document and outlined the first step in the TASP implementation process.

“The Town of Athabasca Sustainability Plan provides the community with a kind of compass that will direct decisions and development in an integrated and collaborative way,” Jane explained. “The review of the Municipal Development Plan is the first step in the implementation process.”

The Municipal Development Plan is a statutory planning document. Revisions to this plan, and to the Land Use Bylaw, will be consistent with applicable objectives and policies in the TASP document.

Jane outlined the agenda for the evening, stating that the group would consider the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to various types of development in the community and would offer insight and input regarding the same.

“Tonight’s input is to indicate what type of development should go where in the town,” she advised.

Attendees then circulated around the room looking at maps of the town representing several categories including, for example, recreation, environmental, residential, institutional and commercial, and marking on the maps what types of development should or should not go in certain areas.

Jane is compiling the information noted on the maps and will use it to help towards the preparation of a draft Municipal Development Plan. The draft will be presented to the public for review and further input once available.

For more information about the TASP, read previous stories on these web pages:

TASP to be presented in March

Sustainability Plan nears completion

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