The Collaborative Planning and Public Consultation Process
A collaborative planning process has been underway since the summer of 2009 to prepare for the scheduled rehabilitation of the twin Osborne Street Bridge beginning in April, 2011. The project will preserve and upgrade the bridge and its approach roadways from River Avenue to Broadway so they meet current City of Winnipeg standards.
Public consultation is a collaborative effort that brings together all those who have an interest in or are affected by a project to work together, share information and provide feedback that helps shape the project planning and decision making process.
The Osborne Bridges public consultation was planned and implemented to provide opportunity for the public to have input on City of Winnipeg plans to rehabilitate the twin Osborne Bridges through a collaborative planning process. It is based on collaboration and informed participation, and it brings together the shared knowledge and expertise of many including:
- Local knowledge - residents and community groups
- Stakeholder expertise - special interest groups
- City of Winnipeg representatives (Public Works, Planning Property and Development, and Transit) - project mandate, terms of reference, City policies and technical expertise
- Consulting team - technical expertise
This research driven, customized collaborative planning process began with a Community Profile and Implications Assessment research study to learn about and account for the area's present and future social, economic, land use, sustainability and transportation considerations consistent with City Council policies and guidelines.
After learning about the communities surrounding the project, a Neighbourhood Advisory Committee (NAC) was formed including representatives of sectors and neighbourhoods that are affected by or interested in the project. Committee members participated as representatives of a broader constituency. NAC members received important background information about the project and shared information about their constituencies' interests and concerns. The NAC developed project goals and then, working with municipal representatives and the consulting team, developed conceptual options for the project. Building on the knowledge and wisdom of local community organizations, specialized interest groups and City of Winnipeg department representatives, the project consultants helped develop creative solutions to best meet the project goals.
The committee's deliberations were guided by several limitations. The project must:
- Stay within the capital budget;
- Upgrade the facility to current City of Winnipeg standards without an additional row of girders or substructure modifications;
- Work within the limited City of Winnipeg right of way on either side of the approach roads;
- Carry out the work in accordance with City bylaws, policies and guidelines.
Options were presented to the general public for feedback early in 2010, which was then shared with the NAC and City of Winnipeg. Careful consideration of the public feedback and project goals, led to a recommended option that ensures the project is technically sound, environmentally responsible, cost effective, reflective of the needs of the community and city in general, and is generally understood and accepted by most of those affected.
NAC members will continue their involvement at key milestone points during project construction. Public communication will be underway throughout construction to ensure that the community and general public are informed about the project.