“It takes a village to raise a plan.”
Ekistics is a process of engagement. Done right, Community Development Plans (also known as Master Conceptual Plans) provide an invaluable road map for communities for years into the future. What were once rural communities on the distant fringes of small urban areas are now becoming bedroom communities and commercial growth centres at the edge of larger growth cores.
With the adoption of the RP+5 Regional Plan, Musquodoboit has become a Rural District Growth Centre for the regional municipality. We have applied to all three levels of Government. Once funding is made available to us, Ekistics will be our partners to conceive, design, and implement a community development strategy for Musquodoboit Harbour and Area. The MHACCCA is hopeful we will receive funding by mid Spring 2016 so we can begin work on the “Ekistics Master Conceptual Plan” for our area.
The Ekistics process harnesses residents’ and business’ big ideas and transforms them into actionable and implementable projects, administrative structures and strategic priorities. This process will allow us to implement tender documents and construction administration for capital works projects. It harnesses actionable ideas from the community. These ideas must be filtered through a professional lens to ensure that the plans don’t just become static artistic visions.
Though the municipal plan was updated in 2006, there have been sporadic updates to the land use bylaws, and there have been some high level visions created for the community.
This project is about drilling down in detail from the vision and policies to identify specific projects and implementation mechanisms that will guide the community and foster economic development over the next 5-10 years or more.
Without the ability to construct, design can quickly become very expensive artwork. Ekistics’ ability to detail, process, and oversee construction on designed projects is unrivaled in Halifax.
The community has already gone through visioning processes over the last few years; however, there may be some aspects of engagement burn-out. Nonetheless, this is the first step in seeing real projects implemented. It will be important that we engage the community one last time in order to confirm priorities and aspirations.
The final product needs to be the result of a carefully crafted process that combines face-to-face opportunities with online engagement. The final product needs to excite the community and potential developers about the what the future holds. Every successful implementation starts with a realistic and achievable vision. Residents and businesses need to be able to mentally navigate from existing conditions to potential future.
Quotes from the Ekistics Plan & Design team:
“Musquodoboit’s strong natural and physical assets, as well as its amazing community spirit assure the success of this project”
“The village center of Musquodoboit Harbour is a regional growth and service centre between Sheet Harbour and Porter’s lake. It is a mecca for naturalists and hikers”
“The old railbed is a signature asset that should be leveraged for
“It takes a village to raise a plan.”
“Community development begins with infrastructure. Sewer, water and accessible, complete streets”
“Community design starts with community but follows with community economic development”
“Leveraging private investment with strategic public investment
will be crucial for this project’s longterm success”
CONSIDERING THE REGIONAL STRATEGY RP+5
The recently completed HRM Regional Plan provides a high level future land use policy for Musquodoboit as a regional growth centre. This allows for special considerations in the Municipal Plan and Land Use bylaws that haven’t yet been updated to match the Regional Plan.
PHASES 1 – 3 requires funding of $30,920.00 + HST.
The initial phase of this project will include a start-up meeting and walkabout geared towards understanding the background issues more fully for this project. The time line for this phase is fluid but can run anywhere from 3-6 months
CULTIVATING A VILLAGE CENTRE
Rural town centres provide unique opportunities for commercial and mixed use centres. Each solution in a Master Conceptual Plan is distinct and customized to the location and climate. Though the community has hosted previous visioning and engagement sessions, we believe that a vision confirmation and design workshop would serve this projects aims well in the long-run.
What people can expect during the consultation process:
The Design Workshop will attempt to confirm the community vision for Musquodoboit and will try to address the guiding principals and design strategy for the plan. The 2014 Community Vision check-up (based on the 2007 and 2010 visioning process) will be part of the discussion in this design workshop.
The first part usually is geared towards understanding what the community thinks of its current assets and liabilities. The second phase is usually geared towards understanding what the community’s vision is for the future. Public gets real input into the planning process, and the designers get real input from the public, especially about alternate futures.
It will be clear, following this exercise, that there are several, and possibly many, shared goals in the group of people in the room. Generally, people will leave this meeting with a sense of direction and accomplishment. Ideally, the final report recommendations will resonate with people that participated in this meeting.
Ekistics will also host a website and provide a web address where we can monitor survey feedback in real time. We will structure the survey to understand the community’s vision and aspirations for the community. We propose to keep the survey open for the duration of the project.
The Final Report and the benefits to our Communities:
The Conceptual Development Plan will create the framework for municipal priorities over a 20 year time horizon.
1) Introduction and Background
- Community Context
- Goals of the Conceptual Development Plan
- History of the Community
- Condition Analysis
- Inventory and Analysis
- Assets and Liabilities Maps
- Literature Review of Past Planning & Branding Work
- Workshop Outcomes
- Community Feedback
- Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
2) The Plan
- 20- year Vision Statement
- Individual Physical Projects
- Conceptual Layout
- Trail Details
- Infrastructure Improvements
- Landscape Improvements
- Streetscape Design
- Facade Incentive Program
- Open Space Plan
- Future Land Use Plan
- Signage Recommendations
- Priorities and Phasing
- Capital Cost Estimates
- Next Steps
Results of Phase 1-3:
We will receive a highly graphic report which can be used as a marketing piece. It will include plans/maps, renderings of key projects, examples and photographs of other inspirational projects which might apply to Musquodoboit Harbour.
We will get 2 hard copies of the MCP and a printable PDF copy of the draft.
PHASE 4: Turns ‘visions’ into ‘actionable realities’.
Phase 4 requires funding of $20,040.00 + HST to get working drawings on the actionable and ranked items inside the report. Working drawings include current costing and timelines which are key to being ‘shovel ready’ – and ‘shovel worthy’.
NB: Any membership in our Chamber helps us to fund the Master Conceptual Plan. Show your support by downloading & printing a membership form here. Membership forms can be mailed in or dropped off at any of our meetings. Forms can also be picked up at Rowling’s Service Station in the harbour. With much thanks from the MHACCCA.