Community planning in the Northwest Territories (NWT) for many years followed the Alberta small town models – in fact a number of community plans and zoning bylaws were once clearly cut and pasted from Alberta examples. However, planning issues, size and local capacity in NWT communities often makes it difficult to effectively adopt and implement these plans; many communities have outdated plans that are no longer relevant.
To create plans that are meaningful and can be adopted by the communities, the planning process needs to incorporate local capacity development. For most NWT communities, community plans often do not follow the idea of planning for growth, but rather planning for change - changing population demographics, changing economies, and a changing climate. As Professional Planners, our audience (the communities) needs more support to understand how their plans will work for them so they can be involved in shaping the content. In each step of the six step planning process practical and applicable activities need to be included to engage local Councils, administrative staff and the general public. Once plans are drafted real life scenarios need to be tested by the local Community Council and staff to help build an understanding of how the plans work and test their relevance and applicability. This presentation will explore the role Planners have in supporting small communities to effectively undertake planning process that are meaningful and useful. We will describe real life examples of techniques used for developing this capacity and implementing meaningful planning processes.