THREE RIVERS, P.E.I. — Gary Smith wants the many people living across Three Rivers' rural areas to share their vision for the young municipality.
"Because, really since amalgamation, they haven't had that opportunity yet."
Since several of eastern P.E.I.'s communities grouped to become Three Rivers in 2018 — such as Montague and Georgetown — its council has been working on unifying the region toward a single vision rather than many individual visions.
Three Rivers is comprised of the following communities:
- Lorne Valley
- Lower Montague
- Rural Areas
Source: Three Rivers website
According to Smith, the municipality's planning and development officer, the region's urban areas have more in terms of a framework when it comes to his department. Since about 60 per cent of Three Rivers is rural, that means it can be hard to go about municipal planning outside of its more populated towns, he said.
"All the areas outside of those are under provincial control at this point."
So, one way Three Rivers is moving toward a single vision is by creating a new zoning bylaw that would encompass the whole municipality. To start this process, council approved the hiring of an Ontario-based consulting firm during its June 8 meeting.
"They'll be trying to put together (a bylaw) that best reflects what residents would like to see."
The firm, called Fotenn Planning, will spend about nine to 12 months working with P.E.I.'s government and with the various communities of Three Rivers to draft the bylaw. Part of this will include sending consultants over to host a number of public meetings.
The bylaw will make administering development across the municipality much easier, as well as give rural communities a chance to be more included and better integrated. Smith noted that, similar to the amount of time it'll take for Three Rivers to achieve its vision, it'll be no small task for these consultants.
"There's a lot of work for them to do," he said.
Daniel Brown is a local journalism initiative reporter, a position funded by the federal government.