City of Stratford Unveils Draft Guiding Principles for Grand Trunk Renewal Project - Grant Haven
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City of Stratford Unveils Draft Guiding Principles for Grand Trunk Renewal Project

City of Stratford Unveils Draft Guiding Principles for Grand Trunk Renewal Project

By Amanda Modaragamage

At a recent council meeting, Stratford councillors reviewed and provided input on the draft guiding principles for the city’s Grand Trunk renewal project. 

The ad-hoc Grand Trunk renewal committee is spearheading efforts to develop a comprehensive vision for the site of a former Grand Trunk Railway locomotive repair shop’ redevelopment. Drawing from the 2018 master plan and extensive community feedback, the committee has crafted draft guiding principles that embody the collective aspirations of Stratford’s residents.

Emily Robson, corporate initiatives lead for the City of Stratford, addressed council to emphasize the importance of community involvement in the project and its principles. 

“I really just want to emphasize that a significant amount of community consultation was done on this project in 2018,” she said. “The committee’s undertaking right now is about building on the insight and knowledge and determining what’s right moving forward from the original draft and if there are any gaps that have come up in the intervening years.” 

The draft guiding principles outline seven key themes as follows: 

1. Sustainable and fiscally responsible: ensuring environmental, social and financial sustainability through innovative technologies and partnerships.

2. Celebrate past and future forward: honouring heritage while embracing forward-looking solutions.

3. Inspiring and exhilarating: creating a dynamic, new space that fosters creativity and community.

4. Distinct and diverse: designing urban spaces that cater to diverse needs and celebrate the site’s uniqueness.

5. Inclusive and connected: building a welcoming and connected community hub with affordable housing and amenities.

6. Integrated and multi-functional: optimizing the site with a mix of uses to serve diverse community needs.

7. Thrive and vibe: creating cohesive, vibrant spaces that promote social connection and wellbeing.

The draft guiding principles have been developed collaboratively with input gathered through various channels, including public open houses and community roundtables. 

Coun. Mark Hunter noted his support for the principles but also raised concerns about bringing the draft to the public for input, where they could be changed or modified and could cost taxpayers an unnecessary step. 

“My interest is saving both time and money,” said Hunter. “I want to be sure that bringing these principles for public input will, in fact, advance them.”

Robson agreed but noted the importance of involving the community in the process. 

“I think that might also suggest that finding a way of engaging the community now in a meaningful way is part of this process of gaining consensus on what we’re trying to achieve.” 

With full support aside from Hunter, the draft guiding principles will now be presented to the broader community for consultation and feedback. 

Residents will be able to engage through pop-up community events, online platforms and on-site activations.

Staff will report back with the final vision and guiding principles for approval later this year. 

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