Council is finally getting on with its commitment to update, revise and renew KamPlan, our official community plan. This was one of the initiatives which we articulated in our strategic plan last spring. KamPlan is an important document attempts to capture our collective vision for future development and growth in our city. An update is no small task. Since no two residents likely share the same views on the future, the collective views of all 86,000 of us will at best be an assimilation of topics and concepts.
In order to assemble these ideas extensive public conversations will take place in 2013 leading to a draft plan and a further public engagement in 2014 and a final document will be prepared for approval by the council of the day in 2015. This is important work and work that will largely be undertaken by our in-house planners and managers. Your participation is critical.
Much has changed since the original planning documents were developed late last century. Our economy has shifted from largely resource based to largely knowledge based. Technology has changed the way we live and interact in our community. Our demographics have changed, we are generally healthier, live longer and have stronger expectations about lifestyle, recreation, and livability than we previously held. Much of the growth we envisioned in 1995 has come and filled most of the available space. Our environment is much more sensitive and our understanding of environmental pressures on climate, air quality, water quality, waste disposal and recovery has benefited from scientific advances and understandings.
We all want more from local government but need to know that there is a high degree of accountability before we are prepared to expand our financial commitment and open our wallets. Service levels are based upon our ability to pay and if we are not prepared to dig deeper we had best be prepared to accept some level of development in our neighbourhoods.
This will be a fascinating discussion but will be a discussion that is citizen led. Social media will be used as well as tried and true surveys, open houses, stakeholder consultations and just plain old debates and discussion. An advisory committee with two councillors and many other community and organizational representatives are needed to guide the process, keep to the timelines and ensure that every voice is heard.
The distillation of that input will be critical but in the end we need to come away with a document that will capture our collective vision of tomorrow. KamPlan Two will set the stage and tone for new development in Kamloops and will hopefully get citizen and civic leadership more closely aligned. Watch for your opportunity to contribute.
Mayor Milobar will be assigning council representatives to this advisory committee in early November and a call for additional participants from stakeholder group will follow soon after.
While it has been a long time coming I am confident that the process as it is currently envisioned will guide us to a final product we can all share a degree of ownership in. This is our city and this is our plan for the future.
Ken Christian is a City councillor. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.