Ambitious Plan For City Centre Envisions 3,000 New Residents, 350 New Businesses

Multi-use buildings on Prince William St. in Saint John (Image: Mark Leger/Huddle)

SAINT JOHN – Common Council has voted to begin the adoption process of the city’s Central Peninsula Plan.

The plan is described as a long-term vision for the uptown, south end and Waterloo Village.

“This is a big moment for the community and the city and is something I hope this council will see as part of its legacy,” said city planner Jennifer Brown during Monday night’s council meeting.

The plan will guide development, improve quality of life, and spur growth in the city’s core over the next 30 years.

Brown said community feedback has been a crucial part of developing the long-term plan. More than 1,100 people were engaged during public engagement in 2017.

The feedback was used to determine the community’s visions and goals, to create a list of priority action items, and to direct policy to ensure the plan represents the community it serves.

“The public prioritized increased access to the waterfront, enhancing streets and pedestrian areas, improvements to active transportation and pedestrian infrastructure, increased greening, and the need to infill vacant lots and address derelict buildings,” she said.

The project consists of three major pieces of work, Brown said. They include amendments to the heritage conservation areas by-law, the plan itself, and the introduction of infill guidelines to the heritage by-law.

A map highlighting which parts of the city are included in the Central Peninsula Plan area. Image: City of Saint John/Submitted.

Growth targets for the central peninsula over the next 30 years include 1,200 new residential units, up to 3,000 new residents, 350 new businesses, 4,000 additional jobs, and $350 million in new tax base.

Councillor David Hickey, whose ward includes the central peninsula, said he is excited about the plan.

“It really is substantial and it’s going to make a huge difference in the central peninsula,” said Hickey.

Mayor Don Darling said he believes the plan is important for the central peninsula and the city as a whole.

“It’s not the core versus every other area of the city,” said Darling. “It all fits together for a thriving community.”

“Any city that is thriving has a strong core, so I think we need to continue to communicate why this plan is so critically important.”

Members of the public will have three opportunities over the coming weeks to provide input on the plan’s adoption.

A 30-day comment period will run from October 8 to November 6 and a planning advisory committee meeting is planned for November 26, and a public hearing is set for December 9.

It is expected the third reading of the plan will take place in January of 2020.

Brad Perry is the news director for CHSJ/Country 94, a Huddle content partner.