Last week, the City of Lacombe held an open house seeking public input into the Municipal Development Plan.
Planning and Development Manager Lyla Peter said the City saw tremendous support and a great turnout for the open house.
One of the purposes of the open house was to see if the goals of the City and the MDP aligned with those of residents.
Peter said that what they have found so far is encouraging and suggested that is the case.
Now, Peter said the challenge is delivering on all of those goals.
She said that while the MDP will not necessarily prioritize goals and will work towards all goals each day, sometimes some goals may be covered more than others. “It is challenging, we aspire for these huge goals and we set out the policies to achieve but sometimes choices have to be made,” said Peter.
While individual concerns among residents differ from person to person and shift over time, Peter said that there are some themes arising from input received from the community so far.
Recently, the City released its report outlining the result of the Lacombe retail survey.
Peter said it was a fairly big undertaking by the City to conduct the retail survey and as such commercial growth within the City is one of the themes arising from the community’s input into the MDP.
“Generally, I think people want to see more commercial activity,” Peter said. She added there appears to be a desire to see more box stores and chain stores in the community in particular.
Another of the themes emerging from the public input process is that of housing.
Peter said last year the City had a housing needs assessment done which determined that there is a dire need for more affordable housing and more multi-family housing options in Lacombe.
At the open house last week, the City asked residents how they should go about delivering those housing needs.
Peter said that a need has been pointed out in Lacombe and it is important to ensure that residents understand why the City has to deliver different types of housing and what the consequences are if it does not.
“We want to make sure that the community is on board with that goal,” said Peter.
Transportation was another theme Peter mentioned.
She said that residents at the open house had concerns regarding street congestion, something that is often heard at public hearings whenever a new development begins in the City.
In addition to these major themes, the City also discussed topics such as taxes, the local economy and job markets with those who attended.
Peter said that all of the information received through the public input process would be considered when policy regarding the MDP is being written.
Currently, all the information received through the public consultation process is being compiled by the consultants working with the City on the MDP.
Peter said they have handed this part of the process over to the consultants in order to maintain transparency and so that the feedback will be viewed objectively by a third party.
Once the data is compiled, it will be released back to the City in a report. Peter said that report will also be made available to the public.
“We want everybody to see what information we are getting and from there they can see how that information translates into, ultimately, policy,” said Peter. “We want to make sure that the input that we receive goes into those policies.”