An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THE NORTH SHORE is under the microscope again, this time in an update to the neighbourhood plan.
The City has been reviewing the plan, which hasn’t been updated since 2008, and is now seeking input on a draft report. If you intend to read the report, set aside some time because it’s a couple of hundred pages long.
A lot of it is good stuff, pointing out the tremendous possibilities of the area. It’s full of photos and conceptual drawings and vision. It talks about walkable neighbourhoods and developing the waterfront, and housing and character areas.
It would take many years to see even some of the vision turn into reality but that, after all, is what planning is all about.
But I have some thoughts about what needs to be done first, some fundamentals. For example, the draft plan foresees “a well-connected network of sidewalks and multi-use paths connect(ing) distinct districts, neighbourhood nodes, and major amenities in an accessible, safe, and convenient manner.”
It’s uplifting just visualizing that, but what about existing infrastructure? The North Shore has long been beset by crumbling roadways, and many of its neighbourhoods don’t even have sidewalks. Fix that.
Another sentence pictures “an urban realm that supports the health of residents and enhances safety through improvements to lighting, landscaping, signage, transportation infrastructure, and building design.”
Surely that doesn’t have to wait for a long-range plan.
And here’s a big one. The plan says the North Shore should be home to a vibrant cultural community including a major amenity.
We’ve heard that one before. So far, it’s all talk. When the City was looking for a home for the long-sought performing arts centre, various locations were proposed on the North Shore, and ignored in favour of centralizing culture in the South Shore downtown.
So yes, it’s great to draw lines on paper but, so far, that’s mostly what it’s been for the North Shore. Words and pictures.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.