Welcome to the Municipal Blog relating to the 5 Year Review of the Municpality of Meaford Official Plan. Please note that this blog is not intended to replace formal public consultation under the Planning Act but is instead meant to be a forum for information sharing on topics and ideas relating the review and community planning in general. Feel free to post comments or questions. Also be sure to visit the Municipal Webste (here) for additional information about the Official Plan Review.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Fostering Community. Part 2 - Official Plans & Community

In my last post “Fostering Community. Part 1 – Built Environment & Community” I noted that a review of current literature/research indicates that there is a link between the structure of our environment and the community that develops within it, because of it, or in spite of it. From the perspective of municipal planner, I see this as an opportunity - using the legislated tools available to us - to actively create environments that facilitate community.
In an urban setting this can be quite easily translated into directive policies about features & placement of buildings, organization of land uses, transportation linkages and design of individual sites. However, in a municipality like ours, which covers such a large geographic area and includes both rural, urban, suburban and hamlet areas, it seems to me that the policies need to delve a little deeper.

Community as a specific planning goal?

As you may know, an Official Plan is the primary policy document through which Council and residents can communicate their vision for a municipality. Through development of its policies, the community identifies priorities which guide land use, development and capital spending as tangible expressions of the values of the community.
If you’ll recall, I’ve previously provided a definition of “community” (per Wikipedia) as being “A group of interacting people, living in some proximity (i.e., in space, time, or relationship). Community usually refers to a social unit larger than a household that shares common values and has social cohesion.”
So, what does our current plan say about ‘community’ as a value and as a goal?  Interestingly enough, references to the active fostering of community are few. There are however, numerous references to ‘character’ and ‘civic identity’. Hmmmm…

Character & Community Intertwined

I’ve often thought that the term ‘character’ in reference to a place is quite vague and subjective. What is the character of an area? Is it the topography? Is it a built feature? Is it a feeling? Would you describe an area's character in the same way I would? Do we share a perception of the character of a house, a neighbourhood , the municipality?

If I feel that rural character is characterized by forests and vistas, and you feel that it is characterized by cleared agricultural fields – are we inclined to behave in a neighbourly way, or do our conflicting views undermine social cohesion? How different would our interactions be if we both felt that rural character includes all of those elements?  

I suppose what I’m thinking is that those policies that speak to protecting 'character' are really speaking to the protection of the physical elements that we collectively value...and because we value them, and because we identify with them emotionally, these elements form a basis for 'community' in our municipality.

This concept is touched upon in Section A1 of the Official Plan (The Community Vision) which reads: 
“According to the residents of Meaford, the excellent quality of life is what makes the Municipality a desirable place to live. This quality of life is created, in large part, by the distinct 19th century character of the urban area, with its downtown and established neighbourhoods and the Municipality’s rural area, with its small settlement areas, farmland, country homes, open scenic countryside, extensive woodland areas and shoreline communities. These are the qualities that, taken together, contribute to the identity of the community that is of greatest importance to the residents.” 
Of course, our individual perceptions will be coloured by our experiences and personal preferences and it is human nature that we will disagree from time to time on how to articulate ‘character’ as it relates to a specific area, feature, or proposal. But after much internal debate on the matter, it strikes me that the vague and subjective nature of ‘character’ in our Official Plan policies is exactly as it should be. Its inclusion as a planning consideration means that through the planning process we are all challenged to participate in an ongoing discussion about what these features and qualities mean to each of us and how, when taken together, they describe our community and the elements that matter most to each of us. 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Fostering Community. Part 1 - Built Environment & Community

Out in the spring sun:
Me (approx. age 5) with
life-long friend & neighbour, Dean.

In my last post “Reflections on Community” I spoke about the way in which the neighbourhood I grew up in has changed over the years.
Perhaps the warmth associated with my childhood recollections is nostalgia at work. However, given the recent focus that has been placed by  numerous public agencies and organizations on the creation and revival of healthy, livable and sustainable communities, I am inclined to think that my observation may be accurate.
There has been a change.
As a society, it seems that we are beginning to realize that some of the decisions and practices of the past few decades have perhaps led us away from a place of sustainable well-being  and happiness. (For more information about the concept of sustainable happiness click here)

Best Practices in Neighbourhood Design

Over the past years, best practices have begun to surface in relation to neighbourhood design (Example: LEED-ND). In reviewing some of the features of such model neighbourhoods, I find myself reflecting on  the major changes that have occurred over time to the community where I was raised:
  • Local amenities such as the local playground, basketball court & shade trees were removed.
  • The local pharmacy & grocery store were relocated to a large commercial mall several blocks away.
  • A highway was constructed behind our property. On ramps/entrances cut our major east/west arterial road into short sections with limited connectivity.
  • The nearby open space, farmed and forested areas have been replaced by suburban residential development.
  • There are fewer families living in the condominium complex.
My intuition tells me that there is a relationship between these changes and the altered nature of that community. I went looking for some research to substantiate this intuitive knowledge and found a nifty little research paper called ‘Social Capital and the Built Environment: The Importance of Walkable Neighbourhoods’. In this study,  Dr. Kevin Leyden carried out research to examine whether the built environment (i.e., the way we design and build our communities and neighborhoods) affects the degree to which people are involved in their communities and with each other.
The researcher’s premise was that some neighborhood designs enable or encourage social ties or community connections, whereas others do not.

Through his research, Dr. Leyden found that:
‘persons living in walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods have higher levels of social capital compared with those living in car-oriented suburbs. Respondents living in walkable neighborhoods were more likely to know their neighbors, participate politically, trust others, and be socially engaged.’

Dr. Leyden noted that :‘Spontaneous “bumping into” neighbors, brief (seemingly trivial) conversations, or just waving hello can help to encourage a sense of trust and a sense of connection between people and the places they live. These casual contacts can occur at neighborhood corner shops, at local parks, or on the sidewalk. To many residents, such contacts breed a sense of familiarity and predictability that most people find comforting.’


Change the Environment: Change the Community 

In light of Dr. Leyden’s findings, it is reasonable to assume that the changes my neighbourhood underwent have had an impact on the nature of the community. We removed the on-site recreational amenities and nearby service uses such as the pharmacy & grocery store meaning that  not only do residents have fewer opportunities for casual contact and chance interactions but now they must get into their vehicles and drive several city blocks in order to meet basic household needs.
Also, there are fewer families within the condominium. This is perhaps due to broader demographic change or perhaps due to the lack of recreational amenity to draw in young families  but in either case - and as fellow parents will recognize - this means that there are fewer children to act as ‘social lubricant’ between the adults.
How interesting to be able to apply the findings of this study to explain a change I've observed in my own life. I am inspired. This study (and it is in good company) indicates there is a link between the structure of our environment and the community that develops within it, because of it, or in spite of it. And in knowing this, I can't help but think of what a powerful opportunity arises for us to embrace best practices in neighbourhood design and in turn, foster the development of communities that feel like home.  

Coming Soon: ‘Fostering Community. Part 2 – Official Plans & Community’  

For Reference:
Leyden, Kevin M. Social Capital and the Built Environment: The Importance of Walkable Neighborhoods . Journal of Public Health. 2003 September; 93(9): 1546–1551. Available online: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1448008/ [Last accessed June 1st, 2012)
Putnam (2000)  Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster; 2000.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Reflections on Community

The oft referenced ‘Wikipedia’ offers the following definition of community:
“A group of interacting people, living in some proximity (i.e., in space, time, or relationship). Community usually refers to a social unit larger than a household that shares common values and has social cohesion.”

Experiences of Community

As I’ve mentioned previously on this blog, I grew up in Hamilton within a townhouse condominium complex at the (then) fringe of the urban area. I have incredibly fond memories of my time there.
In my early years, there were many children of similar age living in our complex and we made full daily use of the basketball court and playground equipment on-site as well as the nearby meadow, forest stands and farmer’s fields.  Our parents took turns hosting the kiddie pool in their yard (my mom always added bubbles) and there were frequent community yard sales, BBQ’s and evening drinks in the common areas on summer weekends. If I fell and scraped my knee, I could go to almost any door for comfort and a band-aid. If a child were behaving poorly, any one of the adults nearby felt comfortable in providing some direction. Doors were generally unlocked and with our closest neighbours there was a knock, holler and enter policy in effect. If a neighbour were ill, there was someone to water their flowers or grab a few things for them at the store. These experiences have shaped my understanding of ‘community’.
Sadly, over the years the condo complex has seen some significant changes. The basketball net was removed as a result of complaints about the noise of the bouncing ball; the playground equipment was taken out shortly afterwards due to concerns about injury and liability; and, the beautiful shade trees in the common area were removed due to interference of their roots with underground utilities. Adding injury to insult, a few years later, the local pharmacy & grocery store were converted to offices when the large corporations that owned them decided to merge their neighbourhood stores into mega-stores in a new commercial mall several city blocks away.
Today, a handful of the same residents remain and it’s always nice to catch up and see some friendly faces – but when I return to the place it feels very different. You see, the people aren’t outside. There are no kids running amok. There are no parents hustling down the sidewalk to get to the grocery store with kids in tow.  People seem to go from their car to their door and back out again.  

Community in Meaford

In honesty, I think that one of the reasons why I moved to, and have remained in Meaford is that I have found a similar sense of community here. There is a warmth about this place.  At the coffee shop, they know my name and my favourite treat. My daughter is on a first name (and hug-giving) basis with the staff at our downtown grocery store and when you walk down the street, people smile and say hello.
I’ve recently been trying to convince some family members to move to the area from the city and in listing our local services and attributes I realize that  one of the most important assets, our civic identity and social cohesion, is exactly what is hardest to put down on paper. How do you label, list or weigh the joy on your three year-olds face when they realize that an unknown passer-by has dressed the naked snowman they built the day before?
Given my appreciation of this incredible asset, I am even more so appreciative of my role with the Municipality. Our Official Plan identifies that
“ it is the intent of this (Official) Plan, to provide Council with the tools to consider and mitigate the impacts of change on the qualities that make the Municipality a desirable place to live.”
Most certainly ‘community’ is one such quality - one that I feel privileged to have an opportunity to foster through my work.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Youth & Sustainability


I had the opportunity to visit Georgian Bay Secondary School’s EcoProject classroom a few weeks ago to speak about planning and sustainability. The EcoProject {ECO= stands for Environment, Community & Outdoors} is an innovative course led by some very dynamic teachers who have developed a curriculum which includes survival camping trips, community service and job placements, tending to a community garden, learning about transition towns, sustainability concepts and municipal facilities and much much more.
 Speaking of which – don’t miss the GBSS plant sale from 9-1 on Saturday May 19th. The sale will be located at the highschool’s community garden (Aiken St.) and they will be selling a variety of tomatoes, peppers, flowers, brussel sprouts as well as a number of plants that were sown in the high school green house. All proceeds go the Golden Town Outreach Food Bank.

A Planner, yes. A Teacher…maybe.

I have to say, I was a bit nervous heading into the classroom. Though I was a teacher’s assistant in university, the stereotypical teenager is not generally known for their extended attention span and I was cautioned to expect perhaps an hour of attention before my words would fall on uninterested ears. But as it happens, I shouldn’t have worried. I found myself amidst a very attentive and expressive group of students who were more than willing to share their thoughts and insights with me. And who, after two and a half hours of talking, suggested we meet again (a wonderful idea in my opinion…one which is currently in the works).
 My goal for the afternoon was to lead a 'dialogue circle' in order to generally introduce the concept of sustainability, speak briefly to the way in which sustainability falls under municipal and community influence and try to and get a sense of what the students knew and felt about planning & sustainability.
I was blown away by some of their comments. I was also incredibly impressed with the fact that for each concern or complaint raised, there were a number of constructive and creative suggestions and solutions offered up by the group.
I give this background to you today as I would like to take this opportunity to share some of what was shared with me. I would note that I am paraphrasing. I did not take word-for-word notes and so it is my full intent to convey the spirit of the discussion and individual comments. If any of the students happen to read this and feel I’ve misinterpreted something, I would certainly encourage them to correct me as needed.

What I learned

  • There was a good understanding of general concepts of sustainability among the group. They also had a clear sense of community and identified strongly with the natural attributes and amenities of our community – especially Georgian Bay.
  • The students expressed that in general their parents modeled sustainable behaviors at home – through recycling, composting, energy conservation efforts -  with some also buying local foods and others encouraging active transportation wherever possible. There was considerable variability across the group, however. Economics and time-limitations were suggested as possible reasons for choosing less sustainable behaviours.
  • A number of the students expressed frustration at one point or another regarding what I understood them to be describing as the unintentional stifling of their initiative to be involved with their community. For example, several students mentioned that they had been involved with community initiatives but saw little evidence of their input and received little or no follow up. Others expressed that they had the skill, know-how and motivation to assist with the design and day-to-day maintenance of student-friendly facilities but that they were either not involved or were actively discouraged from doing so due to other considerations (i.e. liability).
  • Transportation is a major issue for these students. Transit – or lack thereof – is a barrier to their day-to-day activities. Further, they expressed concern about limited permissions and the issuance of tickets relating to the use of skateboards on streets. Skateboarding was identified as a preferred means of active and affordable transportation.
There was extensive discussion and brainstorming around the above issues and I feel that I walked away from the room a wiser planner having heard what they had to say.
But the topic of discussion that most deeply resonated with me – and which has stuck with me over the past weeks - was in relation to the expectations/standard of living that we have become accustomed to and the related concept of ENOUGH. Think about that word for a moment…enough….mull it over. What does it mean in your life? What about with respect to sustainability? On a household scale? Globally?
You see, the students expressed a keen awareness that our society’s way of living is in many ways unsustainable. They are also aware that knowing and doing are separate matters. One student expressed that their vision for Meaford of the future did not include ‘growth’ but instead focused on enhancement and preservation of our natural environment and our sense of community. Another expressed sadness and frustration at the fact that their generation (and the next few to follow) will be expected to spearhead a return to a more resilient and sustainable way of living – which means undoing the harm caused by their parents and grandparents– and re-defining ‘need’ vs. ‘luxury’ …a process that is not anticipated to be pain-free. They gave several very relevant examples of how we inflate our ‘needs’ on a day-to-day basis (think gadgets, gizmos, widgets) and how the bar of what is ‘the norm’ is always being raised.

Reflections - Momentum vs. Choice

Though not specifically addressed that day with the class, I have given this a great deal of consideration in the weeks since and have come to believe that an additional underlying element of our discussion about ‘enough’ was the  momentum’ of our society which tends to lead us away from the more sustainable choices and behaviours available to us.
The students had noted that in their households money and time factors influenced their parent’s choices…and it strikes me that they're exactly right. Less sustainable choices and behaviours often are cheap and easy, while those that would build our resilience or that would be more sustainable in the long run are more expensive or time consuming. And so we are swept along making incremental choices that meet our ‘needs’ now but that will make life much harder for these students, their children and their grandchildren.
This to me reveals what I believe to be one of the main objectives of developing sustainable municipal policies – to use the authority under the Planning Act and strength of the priorities expressed under the Provincial Policy Statement to commit our community to actively seek out and consciously choose sustainable options– even when they seem less attractive in the short-term.
 I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to shift this momentum. Do you swim upstream, or go with the flow? Is long-term sustainability a factor in your decision making process?

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Walk here. Walk there. Lets all walk...everywhere!

The following definition, links and images are courtesy of iCANwalk.
 iCANwalk is a collaboration of partners, with funding from the Government of Ontario, who support the development of walkable communities. Their goal is to work together to build sustainable, walkable communities that will improve the health of our citizens, our children and our environment.

What is a ‘Walkable Community’?

 As explained on iCANwalk.ca, “In a walkable community people can easily walk to get where they need to go and for enjoyment. When places people live, work, learn and play in are close together, people can make walking part of their daily routine. Being able to walk to school, work, stores, parks and restaurants is good for people, the environment and the economy. When people can walk more and rely on their cars less, communities become healthier and more vibrant places.”

 Key Elements of a Walkable Community     

iCANwalk identifies the following elements as hallmarks of a walkable community:

You can get to places you go often
You are safe along the route (think: clear sidewalks, lighting, street signs, crosswalks)
You can walk from home (residential and other land uses are in close proximity to make walking an easier choice)
You can get from one place to the next (this speaks to connectivity…for example, if you can walk to school from home, but can’t walk to your part-time job after school, you can see how walking becomes a less favourable choice)
You enjoy what you see (your walk is attractive, well lit, shaded or sheltered, has benches and garbage/recycling receptacles and there are interesting things to look at)
 Everyone can get from one place to the next (this speaks to accessibility – in a walkable community, non-vehicular transportation is an option for persons in wheelchairs or using other mobility devices)
    Planners and Public Health professionals have been challenged to look at our communities from a broad perspective as to where there are – and aren’t – opportunities to walk safely. The goal is to employ the various land use tools available to us to increase our walkability in order to realize multiple benefits with respect to Health, Environment, Traffic & Congestion, Community and the Local Economy. Click here for a detailed list of the many benefits of walkable communities.

Policy Directions - Five Year Official Plan Review

As part of the Official Plan Review, we have been working on draft policies that incorporate the theme of walkability into our Official Plan. Such policies are intended to ensure that pedestrian facilities (like trails, sidewalks, walkways, benches, cross walks, signage etc...) are considered as an important part of our transportation infrastructure and to ensure that opportunities are pursued to upgrade facilities and secure better pedestrian connectivity through new development, re-development and municipal capital projects, wherever possible.

Q: How Walkable is Meaford?

A: You tell me….or rather, tell iCANwalk
One of the neat tools that is available as part of the iCANwalk campaign is a walkability assessment/checklist. Visit their ‘What can I do’ page for a copy of the assessment checklist, as well as a number of suggestions on how you can participate in making Meaford a more walkable community.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Neat Tool: Site Plan Control

Thinking like a planner:

Let’s imagine you’re standing on a street in downtown Meaford …before you is a vacant piece of property that is zoned Downtown Core Commercial (C1) by our Zoning By-law.  The C1 zone allows for things like retail stores, accessory apartment units, restaurants etc…

As you look at the property I'd bet that you start to imagine the building that will go there…. How will it be placed on the property? Will the parking be in front of the building or behind it? What about lighting, driveways and landscaping? Will the property be paved or grassed? Will the building be too tall? What about the privacy of the neighboring houses? Will the building fit in with the surrounding buildings…will it be modern glass or historic brick? What about benches, bike racks and garbage cans?

If you’ve ever wondered any of these things, you’re thinking like a planner. It just so happens that asking such questions is a part of the site planning process.

A powerful tool:

Under the Planning Act, a municipality can apply Site Plan Control to properties in order to guide the way in which they are developed. The Zoning By-law says WHAT can go on a property; Site Plan Control decides HOW it goes there.

Copyright © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2008

There is a specified list of items that Council can address through Site Plan Control . For certain matters Council can even require a property owner to enter into a formal Agreement and provide financial securities to make sure they follow the plan that is agreed upon.

Historically, this tool was used to address mostly technical things…such as driveways, lighting, easements and garbage storage but with more recent amendments to the Planning Act this list has been expanded to include matters relating to exterior design, sustainable design and accessible design of the site.

In the Municipality of Meaford’s Official Plan, Council has identified that they intend to use this tool. They have set the basis for its use through the inclusion of Site Plan Control policies which identify the way in which we’d like to apply it. This section reads as follows:

“The intent of a Site Plan Agreement is to ensure that any proposed development is designed to be compatible with adjacent development, appropriately serviced and accessed and otherwise in conformity with the goals and strategic objectives of this Plan. Any required site plan agreement shall deal with the following, as appropriate:

a) road widenings;
b) location of vehicular access points;
c) loading, parking and driveway locations;
d) the surfacing of loading, parking and driveway areas;
e) the location and design of walkways and walkway ramps,
f) the location, massing and conceptual design of any buildings and structures;
g) the location and type of lighting and landscaping;
h) the location and type of garbage storage;
i) the location and nature of easements;
j) the grade and elevation of the land;
k) the type and location storm, surface and wastewater disposal facilities;
l) the location and type of snow removal facilities;
m) matters relating to exterior design, including the character, scale,
appearance and design features of buildings, and their sustainable design, within the Urban Area;
n) the sustainable design elements on any adjoining highway under a municipal jurisdiction, including trees, shrubs, hedges, plantings or other ground cover, permeable paving materials, street furniture, curb ramps, waste and recycling containers and bicycle parking facilities, within the Urban Area; and,
o) in site plan agreements for lands located within the Urban Area, drawings may be required for a building to be used for residential purposes containing less than twenty-five (25) dwelling units.

It is the intent of the Municipality to promote "good" urban design through the use of Urban Design Guidelines. Urban Design Guidelines will be developed and endorsed by Council for various urban land uses. Through the site plan approval process, developers will be expected to demonstrate how they are meeting the Guidelines and preferably, how they are exceeding the
As you can see, this is a very powerful tool in achieving a functional, attractive and sustainable built environment.

Related Links:

Meaford's Site Plan Review Page - Includes link to our Site Plan Control By-law

The image above was borrowed from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and is available here as part of an 'info-sheet'. 

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Just Jargon: Intensification

The Provincial Policy Statement defines Intensification as:

“the development of a property, site or area at a higher density {a.k.a. more units/same area} than currently exists through:
a. redevelopment, including the reuse of brownfield sites;
b. the development of vacant and/or underutilized lots within previously developed     areas;
c .infill development; and
d. the expansion or conversion of existing buildings."

The Provincial Policy Statement expresses the vision of the Province for land use in Ontario. This vision includes maintaining strong communities, a clean and healthy environment and a strong economy. One way that it is proposed that we achieve this vision is by providing for the most efficient use of land and resources that we can muster.


Imagine we are in the Municipality of Example. Downtown Example is a thriving commercial hotspot. All of the businesses are serviced by water and sewer pipes that spread out in a network from their water and sewer treatment plants. Each user pays a share of the plant and a share of the pipe. When the pipe gets extended to service new development, those users pay for installation (through Development Charges) and then pay their share for ongoing use (through user fees and/or taxes).
But the funny thing about pipes…the thing about all infrastructure, actually…is that over time repairs are needed and eventually the infrastructure needs to be replaced (think: pipes, wires, sidewalks, bridges, trails, arenas, pools etc…).
This maintenance and replacement costs money….lots of money.
But what if there were a way to share this cost amongst more users? What if more people could benefit from the same stretch of pipe, square of sidewalk, or recreational amenities? What if we could make better use of our land so that we don’t have to pay for new pipes that will need to be maintained and eventually replaced? What if we could reduce the amount of other resources needed to support growth?
Enter: Intensification.

Municipality of Example gives it a go:

Back to Downtown Example….Example’s Council takes another look at their downtown hotspot through the lens of efficiency and sustainability. Where they see a single storey store, they vision the addition of upper levels to house offices and apartments. Where they see a single family dwelling in need of repair, they vision a four-plex – heck, why not a six-plex? Where they see an abandoned factory, they vision redevelopment to an artists’ live-work complex...
  • Council is happy to see their pipes and sidewalk squares being put to best use.
  • The business owners are happy to have new nearby residents to fuel the local economy.
  • The residents are happy because their housing is more affordable (fewer new pipes to pay for) and their user fees are lower (more sharing of the costs). They are part of a vibrant neighbourhood.
  • The environment is happy as resources have been conserved and the downtown residents can walk or bike for work and play.
A simplified and idealistic example but I imagine you get the idea: there are many potential benefits to intensification and the more efficient use of land and resources.

A mind shift:

But are we ready to be more efficient? Do our expectations make this goal more difficult to attain? When you think of ‘home’ do you imagine a yard or a balcony? Do you need 2000 square feet or 600? What is realistic for you, keeping in mind the costs of upkeep, heat and hydro? When you have small kids do you really want more walls to wash crayon off of? What about as you age and the kids go off to school? Could you retire earlier if you spent less of your money on housing? Perhaps compact is not such an ‘out there’ idea after all.
These are the things that I am contemplating as I develop intensification policies for our 5 Year Official Plan review. We have been given some direction from the Province as well as targets by the County on where we should be heading (10% of new urban development should be by way of intensification with an average density of 20 units/hectare for new development in the urban area) but the ‘how’ of it is up to our local Council.
So, I’ve been looking at the urban area of Meaford through that efficiency and sustainability lens.
We are fortunate to have many opportunities for intensification and re-development, particularly within the downtown area. Also, we have begun providing an indirect incentive to more efficient development by way of our new Development Charges By-law (2010) which is split out based on Service Areas with lower fees for areas with existing infrastructure and higher fees for areas without. But is the availability of land and the difference of a few thousand dollars per unit enough to shift our behaviours and our mind-sets? My hope is that the policies we develop will help. I’ve been looking at supportive and enabling policies but also some prescriptive ones if needed to get us really focused (minimum density requirements for new development perhaps?). But I am curious what kind of interest is already out there. Are you already on the intensification band-wagon?