New plan for Brampton aims to build Canada's 1st modern, suburban city

Brampton city council is set to vote on a bold new vision plan that includes a dramatic reimagining of the city's streets, economy and green spaces.

About 11,000 Brampton residents contributed to the plan known as Brampton Vision 2040

High profile urban planner Larry Beasley was hired by Brampton in 2017 to imagine a new future for the city. (Nick Boisvert/CBC)

Brampton city council is set to vote on a bold new plan to transform the city over the next 22 years.

Its creator says the plan could set an example for suburban cities across Canada trying to remodel themselves into self-sustaining urban centres.

"You won't have to come to Toronto, you won't have to go to Mississauga or anywhere else, it'll be right there in Brampton for you," Larry Beasley, the city planner behind Brampton 2040 Vision, said on Monday.

"Brampton is going to be a great city."

City council will decide whether to endorse the plan on Monday evening.

About 11,000 Brampton residents contributed to the plan during dozens of community consultations over the past year. Beasley said it was clear that major changes would be in order.

"They told us that there are not enough jobs there. They told us there are not enough things to do on a day-to-day basis. They told us there is not enough identity there to feel proud about their communities," Beasley told CBC's Metro Morning.

In response, Beasley's plan calls for a dramatic re-imagining of Brampton's streets, economy, transit network and green spaces, among others.

Beasley, the former chief planner of Vancouver, was hired to create the vision plan last May.

If carried out properly, he said the transformation could bring in the best features of a developed urban centre while preserving the qualities of suburban life — a common challenge among many Canadian suburbs.

"People want to have everything a big city offers but still have that lovely, languid, green lifestyle," he said. "We can put that together."

A new double core

The vision plan calls for a massive new double core in the city's heart, including a new uptown district to complement and connect to Brampton's existing downtown.

The new uptown neighbourhood will be custom-built and transit-oriented, according to the document. A significant part of the goal is to attract top companies and new jobs to the city.

An artists's rendering of the proposed Uptown Brampton district, to be built south of the existing downtown. (City of Brampton)

Once completed, the twin cores will form a "corporate hot spot and tourist destination" on par with other urban centres in the region, according to Brampton 2040 Vision.

"Downtown Brampton stands at the threshold of finally fulfilling its destiny," the document declares.

More jobs, fewer commuters

More than 60 per cent of Brampton's 593,638 residents currently commute for work, an issue that was identified as a major concern in community consultations.

Beasley wants to see than number flip over the next 25 years, so that more than 60 per cent of Brampton residents are able to live and work in the same city.

"We have to draw the jobs to the people, rather than the people always making their way to the jobs," he said.

To make that happen, the vision calls for the creation of five new town centres where jobs, shops and services will cluster in a way that hasn't yet happened in Brampton.

There are: Heritage Heights, Trinity Commons, Bramgo, Bram West and Bram East.

The plan envisions "significant competition" between the five centres, which will also showcase unique aspects of Brampton's multiculturalism.

A green city

By 2040, the plan envisions Brampton as a "mosaic of sustainable urban places," shepherded by a new public-private agency with the environment as its primary focus.

The Institute for Sustainable Brampton is described as an arms-length, over-arching facilitator to ensure the city considers fully the environment during its proposed transformation.

A re-imagined Queen Boulevard at Kennedy Road. The vision plan calls for more than a million trees to be planted by 2040. (City of Brampton)

Beasley also excitedly points to a plan to expand the city's ravines and green spaces into a massive, interconnected network, or as he puts it: "one amazing, huge park."

If the plan is endorsed by city council, Brampton city staff are expected to draft an implementation plan to kick start the vision, which will be examined by councillors at a later date.