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1.17.2011

Metro residents have say in plan for future

Source: Times & Transcript, January 17, 2011

If we were asked our opinions on a document called the 2011 Municipal Plan, most of us would feel our eyes glaze over.

But if we were asked what we wanted our community to look like, feel like and work like next year, in the next five years, and even the next five decades, most of us would have something to say.

If you live in Moncton, you are soon going to get that say. And your city's not just offering you the right. It's asking you to take the responsibility.

More details will become available at tonight's regular public meeting of city council, but ahead of that, City of Moncton spokesman Paul Thomson says updating the municipal plan, something the city tries to do every five years, is critical work.

"It's about the look and feel of our city looking forward. It may seem like it's just zoning stuff, but it's way more than that," Thomson says.

"It's also about what we want our buildings and neighbourhoods to look like. It has to take into consideration everything, environment, lifestyles, culture, events."

The environment is a particularly good example of why municipal plans need to be regularly refreshed. Even 15 years ago, there was much less civic concern for reducing our footprint on the world, and much less thought given to the changes a changing environment will have on how the city operates.

When a barrel of oil reaches $150 again, or goes above that, there's no denying that is going to have an effect on not just small concrete matters like how the city paves and plows its streets, done now with oil rich asphalt and gas guzzling heavy equipment, but it will also have an effect on the very way our city spreads out - or doesn't.

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