What We Heard report out for draft Downtown ARP

The RMWB has released their “What We Heard” report following community engagement in the draft of the Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP).

The plan details resident feedback, concerns, and other ideas to help create a vibrant downtown in Fort McMurray.

The draft Downtown ARP wants work in five categories:

  • Land use – what activities will be brought downtown, such as retail, parks, or education.
  • Built form – the look of downtown, whether it’s buildings or roads.
  • Parks and open space – policies that will work to support the open space downtown.
  • Transportation and Mobility – car routes, as well as, walking, cycling, or buses.
  • Heritage, Culture, and Public Art – highlight the history of the region

72 per cent of people believed the Land Use themes reflected what they see for downtown, but some comments had residents wanting to see development in other areas of Fort McMurray, not within downtown.

Built Form had comments asking for the focus on maintenance such as completing sidewalks, or regular snow removal. Others have shared the desire for downtown to have a theme to add more character, similar to Jasper or Banff.

Regular maintenance and accessibility were the main comments left for Parks and Open Space. Some comments were left regarding safety measures for residents to be more inclined to enjoy the park.

Transportation and mobility had themes of parking, bike lanes, and connected network systems. Residents wanted public transportation and private vehicle owners in mind and make sure transportation is accessible for everyone.

The most support was felt within the Heritage, Culture and Public Art category, and many see a need to focus on developing a multicultural downtown, while also using the opportunities to beautify it.

Many participants want to see a focus on safety, beautification, and supportive opportunities for both future and current businesses.

A small number of participants felt the Municipality should not focus efforts on downtown redevelopment, due to previous flooding, as well as development in other areas of town.

The Municipality is now making revisions to the Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan before presenting the first reading to Council on July 11, 2023.

The plan will have a second and third reading in Fall 2023, and members of the public are invited to speak at the second reading.

The process will be shared once the meeting date is set.

To read more about the plan, click here.

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