After almost six months of intense engagement, the city’s final planning vision document for the Brampton of 2040 has landed.
The plan includes concrete actions, and visionary, futuristic illustrations of what Brampton and its neighborhoods could look like if full completion can be met over 30 years. Bramptonist saw some of the details last month, and now everyone can see the full document online.
City Council unanimously endorsed the vision on Monday, May 7 after a special council meeting. Urban Planner Larry Beasley presented the vision, and over 20 residents delegated to council, supporting the vision.
The environment is first in the planning vision, building upon Brampton’s existing park network which, if you ask anybody, is possibly the city’s most shining achievement.
The Eco-Park initiative would essentially merge the existing ravine and major park networks into one managed and unified system. It wouldn’t bump out the Toronto Region Conservation Authority or the Credit River Conservation Authority, but would bring aspects of management into the city’s purview including ecological education and better connectivity to surrounding neighborhoods. This could include a new trust to bring public and private partners, as well as a “Friends of” community group to engage residents. The park would be connected with “greenways” along major transportation corridors and to existing and proposed town centres.
Major Growth Areas
This is the most transformative section of the planning vision. It sets the stage for the growth of several major growth centres in Brampton, with clearly defined goals and visions for each area, to make sure that there isn’t duplication of venues and institutions.
The planning vision outlines the steps for Brampton to reach a population of one million people and 390,000 jobs.
“Uptown” Brampton is from Shoppers World in the west to the Powerade lands in the east. It includes a wide variety of mixed-use, residential, and office spaces. Shoppers World or “West Uptown” would redesigned for a mix of uses, including a possible movie theatre and community centre. In the past, Rio-Can has also expressed interest in adding residential units to the mall site. The vision anticipates the actual plan and designs for the buildings would be subject to an international architecture and design competition, similar to what Mississauga did with the “Marilyn Monroe” Towers (Beasley was on the judging panel for that competition).
“Uptown Central” will have the greatest proportion of new development. It calls for a new sports arena, performing arts centre, convention centre, hotel, district energy plant, a solar energy field, among the usual new development types. It would be linked via the “Figure Eight Line” (more on that further in the article) to West Uptown and Downtown Brampton. They’re also proposing a Kennedy Station along the future 407 Transitway (that station hasn’t continued into the TPAP stage of that project), as well as direct off and on ramps from this area to the 407-410 interchange.
Downtown Brampton’s redevelopment in this part of the plan is a bit more modest. It’s centred around three key themes: a health and wellness precinct around Peel Memorial with health care and research, Downtown Central with new infill developments, retail laneways and historic building facades, and three university-precincts centred around Brampton GO, including an arts district with galleries and studio space. It also envisions a new hotel at Four Corners, an indoor farmers market through the old Carnegie Library and armoury, and the development of the Riverwalk. Ideas brought up at the engagement sessions include a new central fountain in Centennial Park, public art based on Indigenous themes, and an expansion to the YMCA.
The vision notes there are several barriers that need to be overcome before any major growth can happen, including a parking strategy, more childcare, the establishment of an anchor grocery store, the elimination of the tax break on empty storefronts, etc.
Bramalea City Centre
Bramalea City Centre would be developed into three districts. To the west, centred on a mini-Riverwalk along the existing creek, would be a canal district. In the centre, the mall would be surrounded by new mixed-use buildings on the parking lots, with new facilities like a rooftop garden on the existing mall added. In the east, there will be a “high street” district focused on civic uses.
The last major growth area is along the Queen Street corridor between Kennedy Road and the 410. Queen’s Boulevard is envisioned to be the cool place to hang out, with wide sidewalks, street cafes, and anchored by a light rail transit spine (which is currently being studied).
While autonomous cars and smarter traffic management systems are important, the biggest transportation items revolve around rapid and local transit.
The planning vision outlines a proposal for a “Figure-8 Loop” line. The name is a bit misleading, as it would be consisted of two loops that overlap on Steeles Avenue and converge at Brampton Gateway Terminal (Hurontario and Steeles). The exact routing has yet to be finalized.
It would be built and evaluated in phases. The first phase would run as new Züm line. It would connect to a Queen Street LRT and the Kitchener GO line in the north, the Hurontario LRT in the middle, the 407 Transitway, and Mississauga’s proposed Derry rapid transit line in the south.
Aside from the big rapid transit moves, the document outlines that more bus lanes should be planned, more connections to the TTC subway and rapid transit system, community shuttle buses, and connections to Pearson International Airport, as well as better transit shelter amenities such as heating and wifi. A visionary idea to move towards free transit by 2040 has also been proposed.
Active transportation and complete streets, where it is safe for all to travel, are the primary focus of neighbourhoods and the overall city. The city will aim to be a “Vision Zero” community, with zero pedestrian or cyclist fatalities.
Existing neighbourhoods won’t be spared from change, though any change shouldn’t be especially radical. There may be smaller infill developments appropriate to the scale of existing neighbourhoods, which would fill the gaps in services, like seen with Heart Lake Town Centre above. The Sustainable Neighbourhoods Action Plan, an existing city initiative, would be rolled out everywhere to propose small-scale actions that could make the suburbs environmentally sustainable. New housing types, such as extended-family homes, share-houses, and rear-yard cottages, could be added to existing neighbourhoods.
Newer subdivisions would also be much more different, with more dense residential uses directly inside neighbourhoods (instead of shunted off to arterial roads) and more grid-like road connections.
Five smaller town centres will take on appropriate proportions of new residents and jobs through intensification. They will be located at Brampton East (Castlemore and The Gore), Trinity Commons, Bramalea GO, Brampton West (Steeles and Mississauga), and Heritage Heights (Steeles and Bovaird). There will also be three smaller centres in industrial zones to provide non-residential services to businesses and workers.
It’s proposed that the town centre at Heritage Heights might host the city’s third (or second, depending on your definition) hospital.
Arts, Culture, and Sports
There are a few key ideas on how to grow and formalize arts and culture, as well as athleticism in the city.
For sports, a key idea would be to develop an organization dedicated to promoting higher performance athletes, so that Bramptonians who want to compete on a higher level don’t need to leave the city to do so. Part of the plan would be attracting sponsors to help pay for the training.
For the arts, the Arts & Culture Panel would be renamed the Brampton Arts Alliance. This task force would be responsible for investing in and marketing local artists internationally, and bringing higher education and technical training to the city. There will be a two-pronged approach to funding, seeking both subsidies from government and grant programs, as well as private venture investors, especially for arts production.
The other arm of the organization will be in real-estate, procuring live-work residences for artists (common in other cities, like Artscape in Toronto) and flexible maker space and performance venues. A major initiative would be a dedicated Arts Street with rapid transit access and arts spaces (live-work, galleries, cafes, maker spaces, and incubators) lining the street. The exact area hasn’t been identified, though it seems like this may be along Queen or Kennedy, based on the concept above.
The article was updated on May 8 to include the results of the Special Council Meeting on May 7, 2018 at City Hall.