In an effort to increase regional co-operation, municipalities across the northeast Avalon are coming together to build a new regional plan.

A process launched Wednesday will create a document to help guide infrastructure and environmental projects across 15 communities.

The finished document will replace the St. John's Urban Regional Plan, which was created in 1976.

That plan designates which roads are arterials and sets out what type of development is permitted in certain areas.

Municipal Affairs Minister Eddie Joyce says the new plan will allow for greater co-operation and collaboration between the municipalities, but is not a roadmap to amalgamation.

"We're not looking at amalgamation. We're looking at collaboration with all the towns to help serve the whole northeast Avalon," he says.

Joyce says the blueprint will allow towns and cities to plan for transportation and environmental projects at a regional level.

"When one town goes out and does a project, is it affecting the other parts of the northeast Avalon?" he asked.

Regional planning map

15 communities on the northeast Avalon will be part of the regional plan. (Courtesy Our Avalon)

He said transportation is a good example — towns should ensure that road networks are running smoothly across the region.

The plan will focus on seven themes: municipal services, transportation, environment, governance, economy, development and collaboration.

Public information and feedback sessions will be held in each municipality by June. Residents can also submit feedback online, on Facebook and on a dedicated website.

A win-win plan for Bauline

Bauline Mayor Christopher Dredge says there's no downside to the regional plan for his community — the smallest of the 15 partners.

He says it's important for his town to have a seat at the table, so it can maintain its rural nature and also capitalize on the gains of regionalized service delivery.

Christopher Dredge

Christopher Dredge is the mayor of Bauline, a town of about 400 people in the St. John's area. (CBC)

"A lot of things that we experience today, our road networks, were things that were planned. That foresight allowed us to have a lot of conveniences today," Dredge said.

"I think we are at a position where we need to look at the big picture once again. A lot of big issues in terms of transportation, our water, environmental protection, economic development, everything really needs to be on the table again and looked at."

With files from Jeremy Eaton and Peter Cowan