I’m looking forward to serving on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for Saint John’s new municipal planning initiative, branded PlanSJ. Our role is to serve as a channel between the public and the process (one channel of many), to provide oversight and input on behalf of citizens throughout the process, and to be ambassadors for this important effort.

Saint John has been in desperate need of a refresh of its municipal plan for decades. The current plan is more than 40 years old and for most of that 40 years it seems to have been disregarded in favour of variances and some plain old crazy.

While Saint Johners themselves seem blind to the beauty and potential of this city (unless they’ve spent some time away), Saint John does have some serious problems that need to be addressed. The city — like many similar municipalities — is struggling under increasing financial burdens and faces climbing tax rates and falling service levels. A new municipal plan won’t fix everything (won’t fix most things), but it will be an essential part of a larger strategy to make the city sustainable, and to improve quality of life here.

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