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Pickering plans urban envelope - Intense Effort

Jan. 21, 2015

With a plan in place for its city centre, Pickering is beginning its next big growth plan conformity challenge: figuring out how to intensify the rest of its urban area.

The two-year South Pickering intensification study will examine all the lands within Pickering’s urban built boundary, save for its downtown - about 4,750 ha. These lands lie south of the Canadian Pacific Railway that runs northeast through the southern quarter of the city.

Primarily made up of neighbourhoods and open spaces, with a major employment area in its southeast corner near the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, Mayor Dave Ryan said that this study will be challenging.

“I think the first challenge we have is that it’s an ambitious project. It [examines] such a large and diverse area cutting right across the city. The second challenge is that there are obviously quite a number of stakeholders-not just the number of people, but stakeholder groups. You’ve got the industrial, commercial, institutional, residential groups, who are all part of the mix that is currently in the area.”

While the study is still in its early stages, Ryan said there is one area in South Pickering that could handle a lot more development.

“Kingston Road in my mind would be an obvious one, where there’s a real opportunity for development and intensification right from the Rouge Park through to our Ajax border.”

Pickering principal planner Deborah Wylie said that the city began roundtable discussions Monday, which will continue until the end of January. These will inform an online community engagement platform that the city hopes to launch before the end of March.

“These roundtable discussions with residents and business are about where they see Pickering is now, and where they see it going in the future. That will inform the later community engagement.”

Stakeholder consultation will evolve over three phases. The next phase will involve retaining consultants to help develop a vision and strategic directions. The final phase will focus on official plan and zoning by-law amendments and potentially neighbourhood development guidelines.

Pickering council adopted its city centre official plan amendment in July 2014, with the aim of creating a downtown. (See the July 9 issue of NRU GTA.)