Envisioning a Collective Future for the County of Kings
Over the years, the Municipality of the County of Kings in Canada has paved the way for the gradual economic and residential growth of the region. Through initiatives such as the Kings 2050, and other programs and strategies in place, the Municipality intends to make the County of Kings an ideal hub for educational and business organizations. At the same time it also aims to engage the different communities in the area to protect and further develop its high quality agricultural lands, famous for the crops it produces. As Ben Sivak, the Manager of Planning for the Municipality of County of Kings explains, “we are comprised of seven different villages, therefore you have to share information and use it efficiently while working together towards a more sustainable region.”
One of the ways the Municipality of the County of Kings has promoted information sharing and planning towards development of infrastructure in the region is through the Kings 2050 initiative. “It’s a fairly unique concept as there is the involvement of many stakeholders and several partners. The hope is that each town, with different jurisdictions located within the County, considers the people beyond their boundaries so that we start to think of ourselves as a region,” adds Ben. Kings 2050’s goal is to set in motion the strategies, policies and infrastructure needed to shape the future of the region as a whole through conception, planning, and realization of long term goals
Kings 2050 Initiative
As Ben mentioned, the County of Kings consists of various municipalities with their own Municipal Planning Strategy and Integrated Community Sustainability Plan, but through the Kings 2050 project these individual community visions will be translated in a collective one for all three towns and seven villages in the Kings region. Scott Quinn, Manager of Engineering & Public Works says, “We want to make sure that the heritage and the cultural lines are protected while facilitating growth.”
In order to achieve this shared vision for arts and culture, settlements, agriculture rural and natural areas, transportation, economic development, energy, and healthy communities, the Kings 2050 project has been distributed into three phases. The first phase, which is now complete, involved the collection of background information and the engagement of citizens to develop a shared regional vision. “One of the major components of the Kings 2050 project was to get information from communities through workshops. To get a wide variety of input, we asked people from various age groups to draw pictures of how they see Kings in 2050”, explains Lynette MacLeod, Communication Specialist for the Municipality of the County of Kings. “It’s been really interesting to see the vision that people have created for themselves and the kind of place they want to raise their families in.”
Moreover, the second phase of Kings 2050 would be to provide the means necessary for various community leaders to work towards a shared vision by drafting detailed policies and regulations. “One of the biggest tangible pieces to come out of phase two is that we are looking to collaborate on the infrastructure, planning and development of a single climate change action plan instead of four separate ones. We will focus on where the infrastructure is vulnerable and since we share the same area and infrastructure, we all can identify the priorities in protecting our environment,” says Ben.
Tom MacEwan, the CAO for the Municipality of the County of Kings, further elaborates how the community has been contributing towards the whole process. “People in our agricultural industry have already shown interest by attempting to use alternative energy sources and exploring technology which would facilitate that.”
Finally, the last phase will be the revision of these regulations and eventually through public consultation and planning approval processes, these regulations will be implemented. Scott goes on to say, “all sides are working collaboratively towards a vision per community that works well with the goals everybody wants as well as to ensure that we actually have the information to achieve them.”
Additional Projects and Initiatives
Besides the Kings 2050 project, other initiatives of the Municipality of the Country of Kings include the Lake Monitoring Program where efforts are being made to protect and preserve the fresh waters and lakes on the South Mountain Plateau. Regular water samples are collected and analyzed in order to ensure that the lakes remain clean. “We aren’t monitoring just for the sake of monitoring but to use the information to our advantage and protect the lakes,” states Ben
Another notable project that Municipality of the Country of Kings is part of is The Race Relations and Anti-Discrimination Committee where they work towards implementing practices and policies to end racism and discrimination.“What is interesting about our participation in this Action Plan for ending racism and discrimination is that we didn’t get on board because of a specific incident. The initiative is not a reaction to an event but rather a proactive move forward,” says Lynette.
Sidewalks are among the infrastructure improvement made in the community of Centreville. With partial funding support from a federal economic stimulus initiative affiliated with the Build Canada Fund, council awarded a contract to Dexter Construction Company who has not only made improvements on concrete shoulders and curbs, but also added additional storm catch basins, storm sewer pipes, a rock retaining wall, various guardrails and more. The project reflects more than $384,000 of community enhancement.
Even though the Municipality of the County of Kings has faced some challenges in the form of navigating around the various political and personal agendas in each respective community, especially during the Kings 2050 project, they remain headstrong towards achieving their goals and sharing their success stories.“We are members of different organizations where we meet and discuss all the information we have gathered. We are open to sharing our knowledge with others in the province so that all of us can benefit.” says Scott. Ben goes on to conclude, “We want to experience a regional, proactive, coordinated approach towards planning and innovation in infrastructure and to encourage economic development through these efforts. That is our hope for the years to come.”
For more information, please visit their website at: Municipality of the County of Kings
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