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]
- 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.
- Amend the zoning bylaw to permit small scale urban agricultural activities in all zones (in conjunction with a Community Agricultural Plan).
- 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.
- Relax the regulations on the scale and types of home based businesses to ensure small scale businesses and entrepreneurs have an opportunity to flourish.
- Support the growth of small scale local industries and value-added products in Castlegar that can serve the needs of the population.
- 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.
- Encourage mixed use developments that don’t involve massive “parking lagoons” at the street frontage.
- Require any new commercial or industrial development to collect and use rainwater for both non-potable indoor and outdoor use.
- 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.
- Encourage through tax or other incentives, the reuse of existing structures and the infill of the “missing teeth” on street frontages.
- 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.
- 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.
- Resolve to permit and encourage innovations within the community that reduce greenhouse gases and fossil fuel dependency.
- 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.