After months of controversy over plans for a major redevelopment of Airdrie’s downtown, the Airdrie Main Street Square (AMSQ) board of directors has decided to reform the board to include four members of the public.
The board is currently made up of two City administration officials and members of council, but AMSQ plans came to a halt following a public outcry about how the board functioned and a lack of public consultation on the project.
Mayor Peter Brown said during the Dec. 5 City council meeting the board will be adjusted April 1 to include three members of council and four members of the public.
“We haven’t determined the skill sets that we’re going to be looking for but obviously they have to have some background in leasing and commercial and that kind of thing,” Brown said during the meeting. “But that’s still to be finalized.”
He said the board will be meeting over the next few months to determine what kind of skills new members will be required to bring to the table.
“Once that’s determined I believe that the board composition will determine kind of what their future function’s going to be as it relates to managing, operating and moving forward with AMSQ,” Brown said.
Lorne Stevens, the City’s director of infrastructure, said staff plans to collect feedback from residents about the project and report back to council in the spring.
“What I do see our public consultation process as is a blank sheet of paper to go to the community, to businesses, to all interested parties to come and talk to us about what they see as the limits of the downtown, what they see as the strengths of the existing downtown, where they see the future of downtown evolving over time,” Stevens said.
“We see this as a two-stage process. One is simply capturing input from landowners in the public end of downtown, reporting back to council and then that will shape whatever that work plan looks like.”
Administration officials are planning on kicking off the public consultation process in January, wrapping it up in March and reporting back to council in April or May, he said.
Councillor Candice Kolson asked if any committees will be included in the decision-making process, such as the Municipal Planning Commission, Subdivision Development Appeal Board and Airdrie Library Board. Stevens said administration hasn’t finalized exactly what the public consultation process will look like yet.
“It’s very important for planning to be objective with respect to the input being received and not to favour input from one or another in terms of body, advisory body, landowner, public participants,” he said. “I think we just want to get the largest possible spectrum of participation in the process.”
– with files from Christina Waldner