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Saskatoon’s Integrated Growth Plan (IGP) was presented to the city’s Municipal Planning Commission on Tuesday and those working on it say future versions of the plan will shape Saskatoon over the next 35-years.

According to Alan Wallace, manager of planning and development with the city, the IGP was introduced to council as a concept based on public feedback in March and this set in a motion a “process to redo Saskatoon’s growth plan” to a population of 500,000.

“We felt from Saskatoon Speaks that we had to develop our city in a different way and this is the first deliverable,” said Wallace. “This shows a map to 500,000 people and lays out a strategy and a budget, between now and 2015, to basically bring the integrated growth plan into reality.”

The IGP outlines nine strategies to help Saskatoon grow including infill corridors, development of a citywide land use plan for employment areas and establish a rapid mass transit corridor.

“We’ve formed ourselves into four teams and between now and November we’ll come up with a refined growth plan,” said Wallace adding the refined plan will include specific details on the strategies.

However, Bob Patrick,  chair of the University of Saskatchewan’s Regional and Urban Planning Program said even though the integrated plan is “proactive,” he feels the city is focusing too much on the city’s suburbs and not enough on the downtown core.

“I think what the city and what the planners need to rustle with is whether we’re going to improve transit with these transit corridors and urban infill, so attention to the core areas—or are we going to continue sprawling outwards,” said Patrick.

He continued, “[The IGP] is really doing both and that risks doing neither one well and that’s a bit of a concern,” adding he feels the city should focus more on establishing livable communities rather than population goals.

However, Wallace said the plan pays attention to both areas noting the IGP focuses on increasing density in the city’s core and growth in the city’s new neighborhoods.

The refined growth plan will be delivered to council by November 2012 with needed amendments to start constriction expected by late 2013 early 2014.

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