Official Plan draft looks at providing “meaningful” community services

·2 min read

Aurorans enjoy many services provided by the Town, but Aurora’s new draft Official Plan, one which will serve as a community blueprint for through 2051, will look at making sure the services provided to residents are “meaningful.”

As the community grows, this includes ensuring that community services and facilities are “well located” in relation to transit and active transportation opportunities.

“Community services and facilities serve as a community’s foundation, providing essential support to its successful operation, ongoing development and vibrancy,” reads the draft plan. “Community facilities are an essential component to the achievement of a complete community. The policies of this plan seek to ensure Aurora’s community services and facilities are developed to meet the needs of all residents and are consistent with the Town’s objectives for becoming a healthy, accessible and complete community.”

On the road to ensuring these goals are met is a statement supporting the Town’s position that ideally community facilities will be co-located within community hubs, incorporating “multiple community service uses together in one place” with “a mix of uses and activities for a range of different people and purposes” and designing community facilities as “focal points” through architectural design and connections to parks and active transportation channels such as trails and cycle paths.

“Neighbourhood-based community services, including but not limited to elementary schools, libraries and child care centres, community centres, places of worship and supportive housing or adult care facilities shall be permitted in all residential designations without requiring the need for an amendment to this plan,” reads the draft OP. “Retail and commercial uses that are accessory to, and specifically serve, the primary institutional use may also be permitted, subject to a review of their suitability by Council.

“Neighbourhood-based community services and facilities shall generally locate on collector roads in proximity to intersections with other collector roads and/or regional roads. They are also encouraged to locate near public parks and/or adjacent to convenience commercial centres where these exist.”

Should the plan pass, Council will encourage community facilities and hub locations to “incorporate interactive and/or temporary placemaking elements that enhance the public realm experience such as public art, lighting, seating, special landscape treatments, district banners and signage, food vendors, and market spaces, performance and event spaces and seasonal tourism activities. The co-location of community services in community hubs shall be prioritized in order to facilitate multiple community uses within one building or site, with the intent to provide improved access to a range of services, integrate services and promote cost effectiveness.”

Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran