Growth Plan 2.0: launching 2016
Growing Forward, the Capital Region’s 30-year strategy for managing growth, was developed in 2010 to ensure our region remains sustainable and vibrant for future generations. In 2015, CRB is undertaking a comprehensive five-year review and update to the plan to make sure it reflects today’s opportunities and challenges. This update, overseen by a CRB task force, will be delivered to the Government of Alberta at the end of 2015. Once complete, this integrated growth plan will set a sustainable course for our region’s future.
The goal of the Growth Plan Update is to build on Growing Forward’s successes and bring together all of the supplementary plans and appendices to create one integrated plan for the region. The existing Growth Plan has already helped unite members within the region, creating opportunities for collaboration and a better understanding of the needs and priorities of different communities. It has also led to the development of a Regional Evaluation Framework that guides all intra-regional planning.
The update process is being done in five phases and is led by a CRB task force comprised of CRB members, municipal planning experts and stakeholders who share an interest in our region’s future. It began in 2014 with an exhaustive review of existing documents and policy to help us better understand our region’s resources, challenges and issues – particularly those related to infrastructure. Over the next few months, the task force will lead the creation of a vision statement and the development of the approaches, tools and mechanisms that will help ensure the Growth Plan Update is relevant, achievable and sustainable. See the Project Schedule to understand the phases.
Once finalized, the plan, which is scheduled to be delivered to the Government of Alberta by the end of 2015, will make sure the Greater Edmonton Metropolitan region grows with a plan and a purpose – one envisioned and created by the people who live and work here. It will set the stage for a future where our growth is well-managed, financially sustainable, globally competitive and reflects our core values and priorities.
Task Force Members
- Mayor Roxanne Carr, Chair | Strathcona County
- Mayor Lisa Holmes, Vice-Chair | Town of Morinville
- Mayor Don Iveson, Member |City of Edmonton
- Mayor Gale Katchur, Member| City of Fort Saskatchewan
- Councillor Cathy Heron, Member | City of St. Albert
- Councillor John Schonewille, Member | Leduc County
- Mayor Ralph van Assen, Member | Village of Warburg
In 2064… The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is the dominant hub for northern Alberta and is globally recognized for its economic diversity, entrepreneurialism, leadership in energy development, environmental stewardship, and excellent quality of life. The Region is anchored by a thriving core that is interconnected with diverse urban and rural communities. The Region is committed to growing collaboratively through the efficient use of infrastructure, building compact communities, and fostering economic opportunities and healthy lifestyles.
Promote global economic competitiveness and regional prosperity. We will foster a diverse and innovative economy that builds upon our existing infrastructure and employment areas, and our strengths in energy development to achieve sustained economic growth and prosperity.
Achieve compact growth that optimizes infrastructure investment. We will make the most efficient use of our infrastructure investments by prioritizing growth where infrastructure exists and optimizing use of new and planned infrastructure.
Ensure effective regional mobility. Recognizing the link between efficient movement of people and goods and regional prosperity, we will work towards a multi-modal and integrated regional transportation system.
Recognize and celebrate diversity of communities, and promote an excellent quality of life across the Region. In planning for growth, we will recognize and respond to the different contexts and scales of communities, and provide a variety of housing choice with easy access to transportation, employment, parks and open spaces, and community and cultural amenities.
Wisely manage prime agricultural resources. In the context of metropolitan growth, we will ensure the wise management of agricultural resources to continue a thriving agricultural sector.
Protect natural heritage systems and environmental assets. We will practice wise environmental stewardship and promote the health of the region’s biodiversity, ecosystems, watersheds, and environmentally sensitive areas.
Working Papers – February 2016
Four Working Papers have been developed to inform the work of the GPU Task Force on key strategic issues.
- Communities and Housing Working Paper
- Ag Land Preservation Working Paper
- Transportation Systems Working Paper
- Metropolitan Growth Structure Working Paper
GPU Regional Road Shows
- 2016 GPU Regional Road Show schedule
- 2015 GPU Regional Road Shows
- Road Show Presentation FINAL
- Road Show Presentation with Notes FINAL
- Onsite Handout
Important Project Documents
- CRB approves Vision and Principles, recommits to process for improving Regional Growth Plan read the release
- Capital Region Board begins renewal, update, of successful regional growth plan read the release
- CRB votes to access matching government funds to advance key regional initiatives and growth strategies read the release
- CRB hears report on its jurisdictional competitive advantage read the release
- Capital Region Board scores another collaborative win read the release
- CRB begins five-year update of regional Growth Plan read the release
- Project Timeline Revised June 11, 2015
Have a question or comment? Contact us
The Growth Plan Update process gave us an opportunity to examine our region in detail – its history, its resources, its opportunities and its challenges. This information offers an insight into our region that helps us understand what we are today and what we can become. Check out the following resources to learn more about our region:
The Growth Plan Update process, as per its Project Charter, uses an evidence-based approach, with an emphasis on critical core infrastructure, to guide regional growth. Following extensive data analysis and an exhaustive review of existing documents and policy, the task force is now leading a five phase collaborative process involving CRB members, municipal growth experts and stakeholders who care about our region’s future. This process began with the creation of a regional vision and will culminate at the end of 2015 with a finalized growth plan.
The focus on core infrastructure provides a solid foundation on which to base regional growth decisions. Municipalities understand that infrastructure serves development and long-term prosperity.
The project has required significant data-gathering and analysis, beginning in 2014 with a thorough review of the current plan’s 10 assorted documents and a policy evaluation.
Through 2015 and 2016 the project is moving through five phases:
- Creation of a Regional Vision for Growth
- Exploration of different approaches to managing growth via Scenarios
- Policy Development
- Drafting of an Implementation Plan
- Refinement and Approval of the Final Growth Plan – the Growth Plan 2.0
The Growth Plan Update is being managed by a Task Force of CRB members that reports directly to the Capital Region Board.
The Task Force is supported by a Core Project Team of local, regional and national experts in the field of metropolitan growth.
Want to know more about the Growth Plan Update? Below are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers. Have a question you don’t see here? Contact us and we’ll get back to you.
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1. Why do we need a Growth Plan?
A: By 2044, the Capital Region will need to accommodate over 50% more residents.
- +30,000 new people/year (Today: 1.2 million residents → 2044: 2.2 million residents)
- +13,000 new jobs/year (Today: 640,000 jobs → 2044: 1 million jobs)
Also in 2044, the face of the Capital Region will be changed.
- 29% of population non-working (under 15 or over 64)
- 40 % of population under 30
- 58% of Aboriginal-identifying population under 30
2. What are the key issues to address?
A: There are several challenges associated with regional growth issues:
- Traffic congestion and a lack of mobility options— Edmonton currently ranks second for fastest growth in congestion in Western Hemisphere cities and congestion has been identified by regional CEOs as a key economic restraint.
- Lack of Housing Diversity— The dominance of the single-family dwelling type has resulted in a lack of housing diversity and choice, particularly outside Edmonton.
- Global Competitiveness— Labour attraction and global economic competitiveness are critical regional issues that are affected by development and infrastructure decisions.
- Pressure on Agricultural Lands— There is no policy direction concerning the encroachment of urban development on high quality agricultural lands in the region.
- Infrastructure costs for renewal and growth— Urban growth is generating increasing demands for new infrastructure and services that tend to outpace growth in funding. Existing infrastructure is aging and requires a growing share of available funding and erodes the availability of funds for growth related needs.
- Climate change and environmental impact— Parkland habitat is at risk with impacts on biodiversity and wetlands, as well as potential future water scarcity and impacts on infrastructure.
- Regional development footprint— Low density development is expanding the region’s footprint with significant consequences on capital and operating costs, diversity of amenities and services, labour mobility, traffic congestion and the viability of transit service.
3. What are the opportunities of growth going forward?
A: The significant challenges that will be imposed by high growth in the Capital Region offer the opportunity for collaborative regional decision-making
- By acknowledging and leveraging the rich array of assets in the Capital Region
- By ensuring the Growth Plan builds on the current structure of the region – with Edmonton at the centre as the flourishing core and the constellation of communities as the healthy periphery
- By speaking to the dynamics of the evolving metropolitan region and tailoring policies to plan for different scales and contexts of growth
4. How does the Regional Growth Plan affect individual municipalities?
A: At the Board level, members work on behalf of the region as a whole, much the same as a municipal Councillors make decisions in the best interests of their municipalities, and not just in the best interests of their own wards or constituencies.
Municipalities will be responsible for implementing the Growth Plan by ensuring their statutory planning documents are in alignment with the regional Growth Plan.
5. What is the current status of the Growth Plan Update?
A: The Growth Plan Update is now in its second phase of development. From February to August 2015 there will be intense scrutiny of potential scenarios for growth in the region, to ensure planning and policies are aligned with the Board’s long term vision.
Considerable engagement with CRB members and key external stakeholders will help refine a Draft Policy Framework and a Draft Implementation Plan that are destined for Board input this fall, as the Draft Growth Plan.
6. When will the update be complete?
A: The Final Updated Plan is scheduled to be presented to the Province by the end of 2015.
7. Are there similar Regional Growth Plans in other Regional Districts?
A: Yes. Most metropolitan regions in the world do some form of planning at the regional level.
Research done in preparing for the Growth Plan Update considered several regional plans in comparably sized regions, e.g., Calgary and Victoria. Also studied were the paths taken in growth planning in regions of the size we will be in 30 years, e.g. Vancouver, Portland, Denver and Toronto.
8. When did the update process begin?
A: The Growth Plan Update project was approved by the Board in July 2013 with the acceptance of the Project Charter.
The first phase was a Plan Evaluation and Policy Review, which took place through 2014. The substantive update work - the Regional Vision, analysis of potential Growth Scenarios and enabling Policy Development – is currently underway, through November 2015.
9. How is the Regional Growth Plan update being managed?
A: The Growth Plan Update is a Board project. It is managed by the specially appointed Growth Plan Update Task Force, which reports directly to the Board.
10. Who are the regional stakeholders?
A: Stakeholders have been identified as those organizations or groups with a vested interest in the outcome of the Growth Plan Update.
11. How are the stakeholders being involved?
A: See the Growth Plan Update consultation process here
12. How will input be incorporated?
A: The consultation process includes report-backs to Plan consultants so that all feedback is taken into consideration.
13. Will there be public consultations?
A: All information will be available online. If members of the public wish to provide input they can do so at anytime through the project email.
14. What is meant by “substantive update”? What is the goal?
A: The Growth Plan Update will create an integrated growth plan – from the current plan’s 10 plan documents into a single comprehensive plan, creating a new accessible and functionally better plan.
15. How are the Committees going to provide input?
A: As a key stakeholder group, the Committees and Task Forces of the CRB will have specific opportunities in February and May to provide input to the Growth Scenarios, the Evaluation Framework and the Draft Policy Framework. Similarly, regional CAOs will also have the opportunity to provide input in CAO workshops in March and June.
16. Will municipalities be able to provide input?
A: Yes. As Board members, municipalities will be involved in all stages of the update process.
Sharon Shuya, Manager Regional Projects