PlanSJ – What it is, what it isn’t

There has been some concern that the public may be overly optimistic about the PlanSJ process and unrealistic about what PlanSJ can actually accomplish. The public may not understand the scope of a municipal plan — what it can and cannot do.

That’s a reasonable concern. I’ve been reading up on this topic for months and I’m not entirely sure what actually falls within the scope of a municipal plan. It’s more than just land use, that’s clear. Can it extend into public policy around economic development, public transit, education, health, port use, policing, heritage, or many other areas that have been a topic of public conversation around PlanSJ? I guess we’ll find out.

It’s going to be a matter of public vision and Council’s political will balanced against jurisdiction and the realistic limits of municipal incentive. I think it’s worth capturing and codifying the public’s vision, regardless of what PlanSJ itself can prescribe, in order to guide the decision-making of future councillors.

The trick is making sure that the many participants in the PlanSJ process — and the public at large — are left with realistic expectations about the outcome of this initiative.

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