The District of Kitimat is getting good mileage out of its 1952 master town plan.
The Director of Community Planning and Development Gwen Sewell recently returned from a conference where the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) bestowed their annual “Vision in Planning” award to Kitimat for its original master plan.
In the words of the CIP, the Vision in Planning award is to recognize “community plans that have achieved or exceeded their intended expectations and represent a significant contribution to Canadian planning heritage.”
That description fits the bill, as far as Sewell is concerned.
“Certainly I think the 1952 plan for the townsite of Kitimat is definitely one of those ones,” she said.
Even though we’re over 60 years from when that 1952 plan was made, it still provides value to today’s planning.
“We still refer to the original townsite plan on occasion,” she said. “It’s got some valuable historical information in it.”
She notes that Kitimat is quite unique in that most other communities don’t have a master plan that was put together before the town was established. It means there was real care put into how things would be developed.
“We were planned from the outset so there was some logic applied to where things went, even in terms of identifying the best location of the townsite,” she said, noting the town is distanced from industry through a green belt and by the Kitimat River itself.
She said the plan has been valuable in the sense that people in Kitimat have always had this clear view on how the town was initially designed and can appreciate the way the town has separate areas.
In a media release following the award, Mayor Joanne Monaghan said that the town appreciates the award and added that, “Much time has passed and [the council recognizes] the vast changes that are happening at the present time in Kitimat.
“We must further develop the initial concept as quickly as possible to fit today’s needs of remaining a sustainable community.”