The City of Estevan announced the “Our Estevan” initiative several months ago, and since then has hosted a number of online surveys asking residents for their thoughts on various city projects.
Richard Neufeld, land development manager for the City of Estevan, said that he has been overwhelmed by the amount of responses from individuals in the community and wishes to thank residents for their continued input.
“Basically what this is about is the city undertaking a rewrite of our future land use plan. So the document governs land use for the city. Part of it is envisioning what we want the city to look like 10 years from now and the other part is basically policy, which supports regulations such as where we should have commercial development or where we should have residential development,” said Neufeld.
“So I developed a fairly extensive survey, which ended up being very long. So I separated it into eight different parts that are all focused on different things. So we have a survey on children’s playgrounds, downtown revitalization, community vision, and a bunch of others. Now we’re getting close to the end of this part of the project.”
The surveys, which are listed on the city’s website, each pertain to a different specialized area of interest, and are each open to the public for comments and ideas. Prizes have also been made available to people who participate in the surveys. The closing date for the surveys has been set to Oct. 30, and Neufeld encourages members of the community to continue giving input until that time.
“We have one last survey called around the community that has just recently gone up, so we’re hoping to get some good feedback on that one because there are a number of questions on that survey that I would really like to see what people have to say,” said Neufeld.
According to Neufeld the city is required to update the official community plan and the zoning bylaw plans regularly, and the documents are currently coming up to being a decade out of date.
“These documents are from 2010, which means they were probably originally drafted in 2009,” said Neufeld.
“We’re getting close to 2019 so it’s time for these documents to be updated. What I’m looking for and what I’m seeing is a response as to what people in the community think about a whole host of issues related to land use.”
There have been 1,247 responses to the public surveys, according to Neufeld.
“For a community of this population this has been an amazing turnout,” said Neufeld.
“A number of the surveys have been more or less completed. Sow now I’m tabulating the feedback and in the table that I’m putting together I will have responses to the communities feedback, designing a plan for the next 10 years.”
Neufeld noted that one of the first responses he received on a survey was a member of the community inquiring as to if the feedback given would be noticed and taken into account, or if it would just be a waste of time.
“What people are going to find out is that when they gave me feedback on issues, they are going to see a response to each and every question in the table that im currently making,” said Neufeld.
“So I’m hoping that people will be happy that they took the time to provide feedback and I will be giving responses to that feedback.”
Once the table has been completed Neufeld will use the information gathered through surveys to inform the city as to what the citizens within Estevan wish to see change in the community in the future.
“We’re really overwhelmed with the strength of the response that we have received,” said Neufeld.
“We want to give a really big thank you to the residents of Estevan for their participation and I would like to say that we are going to have more meetings in the future, possibly in a town hall format, where we can tell people this is what you wanted from us, so this is what we’re planning to do.”
Those who are interested in participating in the surveys can do so by going to the city’s website at www.estevan.ca. The surveys will remain open until Oct. 30.