2014 Neighbourhood Development — Honourable Mention
City of Dieppe, New Brunswick
Sustainable Community Design for Le Village en Haut du Ruisseau
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The first subdivision of its kind in eastern Canada, Le Village en Haut du Ruisseau has been designed for sustainability using smart growth principles. The City of Dieppe partnered with the Province of New Brunswick and a private developer to increase the density of this 12.5-hectare development from five to 217 units, while conserving 76 per cent of the land. Forty-one per cent of the property is a protected natural area featuring mature trees and wildlife habitat and another 35 per cent consists of flood plains, wetlands and conservation buffers. Every drop of water that falls on the site is retained and treated naturally through best practices such as constructed wetlands and swales to manage stormwater runoff.
When all building phases are complete the subdivision's increased density will dramatically increase the builder's sales revenue — making this neighbourhood model attractive for future developers — and municipal tax revenues will increase significantly for the same service area. Other benefits include more affordable housing, an ecological park and connected pathways to encourage more active transportation. The local community has been closely involved in the project through schools, universities and knowledge-sharing activities.
The city's integrated development zone tool (under the Community Planning Act) allows only one lot to be rezoned at a time. A more global redevelopment scheme would have offered more flexibility.
Regular communication through a designated project coordinator would have helped all team members to understand their role within the larger project context.
The municipality needed training and support from the province to build local capacity for sustainable community design.
Ensure that all partners receive training on sustainable community design at the project outset so that everyone understands how the process differs from conventional development.
Use a secondary plan or development scheme instead of working only with existing local bylaws. A different approach is needed to create a subdivision specifically designed for conservation.
Allow adequate time for planning and research, including a biological study and analysis of the property's potential as a green asset.
Involve many partners so that interested groups can provide feedback and the project can meet community needs.