British Columbia

'Abbotsforward' plan to curb urban sprawl and improve walkability

The city of Abbotsford released a proposal today that it says will make the town more walkable and livable even as its population continues to grow — all in an effort to curb urban sprawl and encourage people to work in the city they live in.

The plan is meant to guide urban planners on city development until population reaches 200,000

The proposed city plan, dubbbed 'Abbotsforward', says 75 percent of new city growth will happen in existing urban areas. (CBC)

The city of Abbotsford released a proposal today that it says will make the town more walkable and livable even as its population continues to grow — all in an effort to curb urban sprawl and encourage people to work in the city they live in. 

The draft plan, called 'Abbotsforward,' includes a downtown core with plenty of public spaces where people can meet, as well as more bicycle lanes and sidewalks to encourage people to drive less.

The plan is meant to guide urban planners on developing the city until its population reaches 200,000. Abbotsford is currently home to about 140,000 people.

City staff are also suggesting that 75 per cent of new city growth happen in existing urban areas.

The mayor calls the plan a "game changer."

"We've had a lot of sprawl in this community. We want to make this a more walkable, livable, walking city. That's what the public has told us," said Henry Braun, mayor of Abbotsford.

City staff gathered input from 7,000 residents when drafting the plan. 

A live-and-work community

About 65 percent of Abbotsford residents work in the city they live in, according to Braun. He says that's a big change, and a good one, from the commuter-town Abbotsford used to be.

Mayor Henry Braun says the city wants to support a larger population without encouraging urban sprawl. (CBC)

"We are trying to be good stewards of what we have and try to create a city that our young people want to live in — that will attract technology type companies. We're looking at incubator hubs and a couple of other things."

The city is now looking to "gain final input from residents" on the plan before it puts the proposal to a vote from council.

The city is hosting information sessions about the plan this week at the Sevenoaks Shopping centre, at the following times:

  • Friday, April 15, 1:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 16, 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 17, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Map: Sevenoaks Shopping Centre

With files from Megan Batchelor

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