Since the early 1980s, Municipal Council, City staff, downtown agencies and others have spent a significant amount of money, time and effort on the enhancement and revitalization of the downtown. Most of those efforts have focused on a particular set of issues and have not dealt with the whole of the downtown on a comprehensive basis. Through its discussions of the downtown revitalization incentives, design and heritage issues, Council identified a need for a new broadly based Downtown Plan. On April 14, 2015, Council adopted Our Move Forward: London’s Downtown Plan.
Downtown Plan Background and Process
The first step in the Downtown Plan process was the preparation of a Terms of Reference. A Terms of Reference is intended to specify the requirements, expectations, methodology and products which will be necessary for the recommendation of a final Downtown Plan. The Terms of Reference were reviewed through a public consultation process prior to their adoption by Municipal Council on February 2, 2009.
Consultation for the Downtown Plan then began with the first workshop (vision session) that was held on July 29, 2009. Information about this workshop is below:
A report was brought to the Planning Committee on November 16, 2009 summarizing the results of this consultation.
A second workshop (vision and options/alternatives) was held on November 24, 2009. Information about this workshop is below:
Following completion of the Terms of Reference, a Background Study was prepared which provided the policy, statistical and analytical basis for the Downtown Plan. The Background Study, adopted by Council July 19, 2010, summarized past efforts and identified components of the downtown which were studied and were being addressed at the present time. Those issues which had not been addressed were also identified.
A component of the Background Study process was to identify a long term vision for the downtown. A number of past studies had done this, but the intent was to revisit that vision to ensure that it was current. A community survey/questionnaire and workshops were tools used to foster additional community input to identify that vision. The Downtown Vision was adopted by Council November 5, 2010. The final Downtown Vision provided guidance for the preparation of the Downtown Plan.
Two reports followed the adoption of the Downtown Vision:
A draft report titled New Ideas, Options and Implementation (Council directed it be circulated for public review on July 19, 2010) was prepared which identified previous recommendations which have not been implemented and new issues and new ideas being tried in other municipalities to revitalize their downtowns. The document was intended to generate discussion and identify new ideas. The report also included an analysis of the issues, a draft recommendation and a possible strategy to implement the draft recommendation. The final recommendation and Downtown Vision provided guidance for the preparation of the Downtown Plan.
As part of the Downtown Plan process, a visioning exercise was conducted with staff, the public and property owners/tenants in the downtown.
The Downtown HCD Plan went to a Public Meeting on March 26, 2012 and Council adopted the Plan and By-law on April 10, 2012. The Downtown HCD Plan needed to be completed first to establish the heritage elements in the downtown that should be retained so that areas of possible redevelopment could be identified. For further information, follow the link for the Downtown Heritage Conservation District webpage.
The Draft Downtown Plan was presented to the Planning and Environment Committee at its June 18, 2013 meeting.
The fourth workshop focussing on the Draft Downtown Plan was held on October 16, 2013.
Draft Downtown Plan
Using the feedback received during consultation, the Downtown Plan was revised and a second draft of London's Downtown Plan was presented at the Planning and Environment Committee Meeting on February 2, 2015.
Council direction lead to a third draft of London's Downtown Plan, which was presented at the Planning and Environment Committee Meeting on March 2, 2015.
Council direction lead to a fourth draft of London's Downtown Plan, which was presented to the Planning and Environment Committee Meeting on April 7, 2015.