Canadian Institute of Planners’ recognizes 2020’s planning excellence

kitchener cycling
Image from Kitchener's cycling master plan

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The City of Kitchener’s Cycling and Trails Master Plan has received an award of merit from the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) 2021 Awards for Planning Excellence program.

The award was in the category of Sustainable Mobility Transportation and Infrastructure which recognizes projects that demonstrate innovation in planning and have a positive impact on the profession.

Strategies are designed to improve transportation options for people of all ages and abilities. It integrates cycling routes and trails into a single master plan that embraces broad social, environmental, and economic priorities.

The jury noted that “all signs point to increasing the use of cycling and other forms of personal mobility over time in Kitchener with the roll out and implementation of the plan.

“It could certainly change the trajectory of travel patterns in the City of Kitchener and improve health and modal split.” Given the size of the city, the plan offers a template for other mid-sized municipalities looking to advance sustainable transportation options.”

The CIP Planning Excellence Awards program began in 1983 and has grown to include thirteen award categories. A jury of planning professionals from the public and private sectors represent every region and evaluate submissions nationally against extensive criteria.

Several Ontario projects were recognized, including:

Mississauga’s ‘Reimagining the Mall’ project was recognized for planning excellence in the Healthy Communities category.

  • Gladki Planning Associates, DTAH, urbanMetrics, City of Mississauga, and Peel Public Health embedded principles of healthy, complete communities into its plan and the framework provides guidance to transform suburban malls into mixed-use hub communities.
  • The project identified five malls developed in the 1970s exhibiting urban form characteristics of the car-oriented development to develop a roadmap to achieving healthy communities. The methodology to developing a consistent approach for areas with commonalities brings an innovative approach to address a particular class of areas, i.e. the suburb mall hubs, situated within the same urban hierarchy in the city’s fabric.
  • “The jury finds that this project is an excellent planning framework that incorporates healthy communities planning principles and sound methodology to look into transforming the urban fabric into complete communities, while supporting the development of the designated area,” the panel wrote. “The framework has great potential for replication and for building the community of knowledge and practice.”

reconcilliationNiiwin Wendaanimok Highway 17 Twinning Project: Harmonized Impact Assessment received a merit award for Reconcilation.

  • The collaboration between Narratives Inc., Niiwin Wendaanimok Partnership, and Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation produced a policy on planning policy that references the importance of respecting and incorporating indigenous planning systems and practices in Canadian planning initiatives.
  • “The jury commends this project for making innovative first steps in the inclusion of traditional indigenous knowledge into the Environmental Assessment process for the proposed twinning of Ontario’s Highway 17 between Kenora and the Manitoba border. The proposed undertaking is located on the traditional territory of four Anishinaabe Nations of Treaty No. 3.”The submission “represents an important first step in the journey toward an inclusive system which fully integrates indigenous knowledge and practices with the statutory environmental assessment process,” the judges concluded.
  • “The jury applauds the efforts of Niiwin Wendaanimok Partnership, Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation, and Narratives Inc. for their innovative approach to reconciliation in the environmental assessment process.”

vaughanThe City of Vaughan City-Wide Urban Design Guidelines was awarded top honours for planning excellence in urban design.

  • The guidelines by Brook Mcllroy Inc. is a comprehensive document that promoted liveability within the city. It also ensured that intensification supported compelling, green, mixed-use communities, active transportation, social and cultural vibrancy, and high quality of life.“The jury was particularly impressed by the Guidelines’ comprehensive and clear presentation of technical design directions and performance standards using language and illustrations that were engaging and accessible to a wide audience.”
  • The City of Vaughan City-Wide Urban Design Guidelines“ is an excellent example of how technical guidelines can reach a broad audience and enable the successful implementation of sustainable planning policies by city staff and the development community.”

port creditIn the category of healthy communities planning, Port Credit received an award of merit for the Port Credit West Village plan by Urban Strategies which includes nine planning principles to support a vibrant, healthy urban community:

  • regenerate a brownfield site
  • implement the vision of inspiration of Port Credit
  • deliver a waterfront campus experience
  • provide a varied public realm experience
  • re-establish connections to Mississauga’s waterfront
  • achieve a sensitive neighbourhood transition
  • deliver a range of housing types and tenures, provide diverse retail and commercial opportunities
  • establish a fine-grain street and block structures

“Overall, the project delivered on a series of objectives for a Healthy City, defined as “one that is continually creating and improving those physical and social environments and expanding those community resources, which enable people to mutually support each other in performing all the functions of life and in developing to their maximum potential,” the judges concluded.

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