City consults in advance of major strategic planning
Five consultations in the old cities of the amalgamated city of Gatineau were held in preparation of a larger strategic planning process. These ‘pre-consultations’ were aimed to gauge priorities on the part of residents. Aylmer’s was held October 9 at the Ernest-Lattion community centre. Some forty residents attended from various neighbourhoods of Aylmer.
After breaking into five smaller groups, residents were asked to write down what they love about Gatineau and what improvements they feel strongly about. From the improvements list, residents brainstormed on how to achieve them specifically. These measures were also written down and the whole was submitted to the consultants.
Highlights were shared from each small group and were focused on improving the relationship between residents and the environment. A concern for clean water, more trees, wild animal corridors, respectful use of green spaces were recurring priorities. Mobility was another common issue; including STO improvements within Aylmer and within Gatineau as well as connecting to Ottawa. Creating a system for ride-sharing within the structure of public transit was raised.
On the topic of city affairs, one table pointed out that the city’s consulting has improved its public consultation process, but that still more could be done to garner public opinion on projects in advance of major projects. One such major project discussed at a few tables was the Lucis-Faris library project. “If we had been consulted,” explained Aylmer resident Antoine L. Normand, “We could have said the library can go across from Galeries Aylmer where that new condo and businesses block is going, there is a lot land there and the old library building could be used for the food bank, youth centre, seniors’ activities, etc.”
Infrastructure was an issue groups wanted the city to focus on, with ensuring that Lakeview neighbourhood having access to new sewer and water pipes, the issue of the city approving new residential neighbourhoods with no local commercial centres, despite an earlier focus on these ‘hearts of the community’.
The business community will be consulted in November. A series of consultations for organizations was held prior to the public one October 9. The results of the consultations are being analysed prior to the city’s undertaking of a major strategic planning process. “We need to hear from people about the direction residents want the city to take,” noted organizers.