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A Letter to the City of Castlegar

Community gardens often have several horticult...

We have written another letter to Castlegar City Council. This one addresses our concerns regarding the planning and sustainability of the City and suggests 14 action points that can be commenced in the short-term to improve the viability of Castlegar in the long-term, for the full letter click here, otherwise, enjoy the fourteen action points below.[ad#468]

  1. Develop a Community  Agricultural  Plan.   Identify   all  parcels   that   could be  used  for agricultural  purposes within  the City  limits.   Additionally,  survey  residents as  to how much of   their garden space  they would dedicate  to community gardening efforts and start a dialogue with the Castlegar Community Garden as to how a large scale multi-site operation might be feasible in Castlegar to provide food security for our residents.
  2. Amend the zoning bylaw to permit small scale urban agricultural activities in all zones (in conjunction with a Community Agricultural Plan).
  3. Partner   with   local   organizations,   community   groups,   transit   authorities,   Regional  Districts and surrounding communities to increase ridership on public transit and expand the existing service and explore options  including  the re-establishment of  the existing rail corridor for passenger services.
  4. Relax the regulations on the scale and types of home based businesses to ensure small scale businesses and entrepreneurs have an opportunity to flourish.
  5. Support   the   growth   of   small   scale   local   industries   and   value-added   products   in Castlegar that can serve the needs of the population.
  6. Amend  the zoning bylaw  to  limit  new commercial  construction  to a minimum of   two storeys   and   reduce   the   parking   requirements   for   all   types   of   developments   and businesses.
  7. Encourage mixed use developments that don’t involve massive “parking lagoons” at the street frontage.
  8. Require any new commercial or industrial development to collect and use rainwater for both non-potable indoor and outdoor use.
  9. Cut back on City spending related to growth and development, particularly at the airport lands. The City should be working to improve the walkability of the existing environment rather   than encouraging  further  development  outside of   the existing commercial  and industrial centres. Development should bear the full cost of any required upgrades.
  10. Encourage through tax or other incentives, the reuse of existing structures and the infill of the “missing teeth” on street frontages.
  11. Start planning for a decreased level of service at the Airport. With tougher economic times and likely fuel shortages or price increases in the future, the airport will be less used and may become a liability rather than an asset.
  12. Update   and   exercise   the  City’s  Emergency  Plan,   involving   the   community   in   the exercise.  Encourage citizens to know the risks, make a plan, and prepare a kit. Revise the plan if necessary to  include planning  for  long term emergencies such as fuel and food shortages.
  13. Resolve   to   permit   and   encourage   innovations   within   the   community   that   reduce greenhouse gases and fossil fuel dependency.
  14. Challenge staff, councillors and the community to problem solve and innovate our way towards and through this transition.

These points are intended to start discussion on sustainable initiatives – they are not the answer in themselves, the answer will come from the community, but these are examples of things that may be able to transform Castlegar from a sprawling, oil-dependent rural town, to a sustainable, walkable community.

Download a copy of the full letter here.

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Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

4 thoughts on “A Letter to the City of Castlegar

  1. Mike –

    Great letter and great site you've got going here. I came here from the Transition US Ning site, and I'm glad to have the civil engineers' perspective on Transition.

    cheers!

  2. Thanks Judith, it is exciting to see the Transition Initiatives growing around North America, the need for change is becoming more apparent than ever to the general population, and the ability to offer suggestions and provide simple solutions is imperative.

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