Photo: Sunset at Temagami by Deejay D, on Flickr

The Temagami Community Improvement Plan

Ontario’s economy continues to be shaped by global economic, environmental and social trends, including: shifts from traditional manufacturing to knowledge and service-based creative economies; climate change and natural resource challenges; and increased cultural diversity at home and with trading partners. Fiscal, economic, demographic and environmental pressures differ from south to north, region to region and municipality to municipality. Common to all Ontario municipalities is the need to build, reinforce or reshape themselves to meet global challenges and residents’ future needs in a sustainable community that delivers a high quality of life.

Community improvement planning, one of the many sustainable community planning tools found in the Planning Act, can help municipalities address some of these challenges as it provides a means of planning and financing development activities that effectively use, reuse and restore lands, buildings and infrastructure.

Municipalities are now using community improvement plans in more innovative ways. Community improvement plans are being developed to address growth management challenges, intensification, energy efficiency, mixed-use and transit/bicycle oriented development, accessibility, and the emerging needs of an aging baby-boom generation. Some municipalities are using community improvement plans as an incentive for encouraging development that meets recognized environmental standards, such as LEED®, while others use them to attract certain kinds of employment uses. Regional community improvement plans can facilitate the development of regional infrastructure, including transportation corridors and affordable housing.

From its original use as a process required for provincial downtown revitalization grants, community improvement planning has become a flexible yet powerful tool for significant rehabilitation, development and land-use
change.