Since October 2017, Ekistics Planning and Design was been evaluating the Exit 506 Area as part of RFP No. 2017-17 Exit 506 Land Use and Functional Planning Study.
During the process, consultation with the community was central. The consulting team completed a variety of interviews and stakeholder meetings, hosted a workshop with the local Exit 506 community group, and facilitated a well-attended public workshop. An online survey was launched in December 2017, which resulted in 409 submissions. Throughout the process, there was significant interest and engagement in this project from the community.
The consulting team presented the draft plan at a public meeting on February 21, 2018. The feedback both during and since the meeting, has been extremely positive. Ekistics has now accumulated the comments at the meeting, along with subsequent comments received, and have now submitted a final report to the Town.
You can view the final report here.
In order to progress the projects and improvements noted in the report, a comprehensive implementation strategy will be required. This strategy will take time, and ultimately will take several years to materialize. If Council endorses the vision behind the study, staff will then look to a variety of implementation mechanisms to ensure the plan materializes, including future operation and capital budget processes, as well as working with the Southeast Regional Service Commission on Municipal Plan and Zoning By-law amendments.
Furthermore, while the infrastructure upgrades identified in the plan are intended to improve the area, as well as enhance the functionality and aesthetics of the Exit 506 area for increased public use, etc., it needs to be recognized that both public and private sector investment will be required in the future to realize the objectives outlined in the plan. This investment will be contingent on Council’s desire to approve the plan and the necessary future implementation strategies.
The next step is for Council to endorse the final plan submitted by Ekistics Planning and Design by way of a motion. This will simply provide staff with direction to start pursuing a variety of implementation mechanisms, which will ultimately require a variety of approvals by Council in the future.