Lambeth, a village of 4,170, while officially part of the city of London since January 1, 1993, now has its first draft community plan which is coming up for discussion this week.

The draft form of the Lambeth Community Plan will first be up for discussion at city hall on Monday afternoon/evening. The plan is going to the planning and environment committee, where members of the committee will be asked to receive the draft report and circulate it for review, and following that it come back to a future meeting for final consideration and approval. A public participation meeting at city hall is expected this summer following this feedback process.

The idea for a plan was first initiated in 2014, and a request for a Lambeth Area Community Improvement Plan was formally made on February 17, 2015 at the planning and environment committee by councillor Anna Hopkins, and community association president Geoff Faul. With that, the first meeting regarding the plan got underway in July 2016, with other community engagement occurring in the fall, and a first draft of the plan coming out in March 2017. The plan was further refined from that time and into 2018, with the second release now.

Part of developing the plan included feedback from stakeholders who identified Lambeth’s strengths as being the village’s uniqueness, a sense of community and history, and a number of locally owned independent businesses within the community. Some weaknesses as part of the feedback process included a need for a clear community identity, a need for arts and culture, and developing the Lambeth village core, which the plan identifies as along Main Street and Colonel Talbot Road south of that to Southland Drive into a traditional pedestrian focused main street.

The draft vision for the community improvement plan states: “Our Lambeth will be a place for others to visit and well known for its history. Lambeth comes alive through the charming historic main streets, unique shops and services, Dingman Creek, parkland, and community events.”

An action items table is included within the plan and is organized into six improvement categories, which range from supporting businesses & the local economy to enhancing & conserving natural heritage, to name a few. These are further refined into three categories of items the municipality is responsible for, community opportunities and items identified during the preparation of the draft community improvement plan. Ideas such as undertaking a business attraction, retention and expansion strategy, improving sidewalks and lighting along Broadway and James, developing a public space, and increase the usability of the Lambeth arena are just some of the many items within the action items table.

The draft plan also suggests creating financial incentive programs, like many other similar plans in London already have in place. Two items of note include a façade improvement loan program and a sign loan program for the Wharncliffe Road corridor. The funding for these two programs would come from the city which may provide no-interest loans paid back to them over a decade. A maximum of 50,000 dollars per eligible property for up to 50% of eligible works would be provided. These initiatives are ones city council would have to approve as part of the multi-year budget process, and discussion on the 2019-2023 strategic plan.

Some other interesting highlights from the draft plan include:
– The population of Lambeth decreased by 5%, or 240 people, between 2011 and 2016, while the city-wide population increased by 4.8% in that same time.
– The largest population segment in the community improvement plan study area is 50-69 year olds, making up 34%, with 0-19 year olds coming in second at 25%.
– 93% of residents own their home, compared to 7% who rent, this compares to 60% who own city wide and 40% who rent.

You can have your say about the draft plan and the proposed action items on Thursday, March 21, 2019 at the Lambeth Arena and Community Centre. The meeting will be held in the gym from 6:30pm-9:00pm, with a presentation at 7:00pm.
If you are unable to attend you can still provide comments through a number of different ways:

MAIL: City of London- City Planning Division, 206 Dundas Street, London, ON, N6A 1G7- Attn: Laurel Davies Snyder
PHONE: 519-661-2489 ext. 4651
E-MAIL: lsnyder@london.ca

You can also contact Anna Hopkins, city councillor for Ward 9 which takes in Lambeth as well:
MAIL: 300 Dufferin Avenue, Suite 314, P.O. Box 5035, London, ON, N6A 4L9-
PHONE: 519-661-2489 ext. 4009 or 226-927-0439
E-MAIL: ahopkins@london.ca
ONLINE: www.annahopkins.ca and @annahopkins11 on Twitter

You can view the full version of the 97 page report here.