A Master Planned Community
A New Design Paradigm
Looking back over 20 years at a vision that was undermined by a lack of support from the residents, the citizens of the city, the city’s institutions and the municipal government, in addition to the impact of a global financial crisis in 2008.
A Decision with Long-Term Implications
The Abbotsford School District made a decision to switch to a middle school system in 2004. The unintended consequence of this decision was to shelve the plans for at least two more schools in the Auguston master plan. The effect of the change was to destroy the intended plans for the development of the area, which included an elementary school and a high school, a recreation centre, a firehall, a church, and a business centre which included a mix of commercial spaces and residential units. As a result, the area is dependent on automobiles to connect with other areas of the city for activities outside of the Auguston area, increasing the cost of living, decreasing the time families spend together beyond the time required to travel, and diminishing the quality of a community designed to be focused on walking and spending time with neighbours. The Traditional elementary school was forced to switch from K-7 to K-5. The children were bused half an hour across the city to Simpson to continue in the Traditional School system. The city displayed its lack of commitment to families, to the environment and to livable pedestrian communities with a single decision with implications that are being felt to this day.
This complex problem highlights the disadvantages of making decisions in silos, without consultation across disciplines and administrative domains. It is not possible to consider the larger picture and the interconnected systems that enforce a way of life that contributes to global warming and the breakdown of social connections by geographically distributing people in auto-dependent suburbs. Poor urban planning and the rising costs of real estate, due to speculation and the economic forces that favour affluent neighbourhoods limit diversity and inclusion. These conditions force people to live greater distances from work, contributing to a decrease in time well spent, and an increase in social fragmentation and compartmentalization. With a decrease in affordable living spaces and easy transportation and access to education and work, the consequence is an increase in unemployment, mental health problems and homelessness.
To create a livable community, we need public spaces where people can come together to try to solve our problems through creative collaboration. To leave this work to the leaders of governments, corporations and religious organizations would be folly. By their very nature, hierarchical structures are designed for institutional self-preservation, not for innovation and social change.
We need a generation who realizes that we are no longer designing physical artifacts but that we are designing the human experience, and it is work that demands the best from each and every one of us.
Auguston has built close to 600 units. There are plans for an additional 2,000 units. The rest of the land in the Auguston subdivision that has yet to be developed is owned by investors in Hong Kong. I have heard that they have been in conversation with Avoid Obvious Architects, exploring the possibilities of building for density and integration with local ecosystems.
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However, the people who live here should be involved in the design process, using human-centred design to find inspiration, to engage in ideation, and to participate in the implementation of plans to build a living system in harmony with its environment.
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The Plan: January 1998
Beautiworld Development Corp.
Ekistics Town Planning Inc.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Straiton Village. Contribute to builders/straiton development by creating an account on GitHub.
A Traditional New Town
Beautiworld Development Corporation and its owner Mr. Au Bak Ling are proud to present the “new town” of Auguston as an exciting complete community in the City of Abbotsford. The development concept for Auguston (formerly known as the Straiton Neighbourhood) will result in a high quality comprehensively planned community based on traditional town planning principles. When complete, the community will incorporate a variety of dwelling unit types supported by an abundance of parks, a commercial village centre, a church site, a residents’ recreation centre and both elementary and secondary schools.
The Auguston site is imbued with a rich array of natural features including water courses, wooded areas and a diverse topography. The combination of these natural features creates a dramatic natural setting for a model community. The primary planning objective has been to develop a high quality, attractive and complete community that will be compatible with and enhance the area’s unique physical characteristics. A comprehensive approach to planning allows the residential development parcels to be located in areas that respect the quality of the natural landscape and reflect rather than contradict the existing character of the area.
The development plan accommodates a full range of housing types in a variety of residential neighbourhoods. The plan is comprised of fourteen housing options for the needs of various age and income groups, thereby promoting a lifetime community concept. The residential forms range from large estate and hillside lots to areas of higher intensity residential use around the Village Centre in the form of street oriented townhomes, low rise apartments and apartments over retail.
The concept plan includes approximately 50,000 square feet of buildable commercial floor space to be developed as neighbourhood oriented retail and office use. The Village Centre “Main Street” is the focal point of the community; it will provide needed local services within a character setting. The location and pedestrian nature of the Village Centre will encourage walking within Auguston.
A Recreation Centre will be built by the developer for the use of all the residents within Auguston. The Recreation Centre will provide a “social heart” to the community; a place where both social and recreational activities can occur. The location and pedestrian character of the Recreation Centre will encourage residents to walk within the plateau neighbourhood.
Two elementary school sites are provided within Auguston; one is located in the plateau neighbourhood and the other is located in the area south of McKee Road. In addition a 4.05 hectare (10 acre) secondary school site has recently been secured by School District №34 immediately adjacent to the subject site to serve the needs of the larger Sumas Mountain Community. In total, over eight hectares (20 acres) are available for school use.
Auguston has an abundance of neighbourhood parks and environmental reserve areas within close proximity to all homesites. Formal neighbourhood parks occupy focal positions within the residential neighbourhoods. Pedestrian-friendly treelined streets will connect the neighbourhood parks to the village centre, the Recreation Centre and the school sites.
In addition to the more structured park amenities, the natural “environmental reserve” lands are preserved in the ravine courses of the North and South arms of the Clayburn Creek providing opportunity for an extensive network of trails easily accessible from any of the residential areas. On a regional scale, trails within Auguston will provide connections to the GVRD Centennial Trail (Matsqui Dyke), a significant trail within the Greater Vancouver Regional District Parks system.
In total, the development concept proposes over 90 hectares of dedicated neighbourhood parks, linear parks and environmental reserve areas.
In addition to the numerous community amenities afforded by the plan, Auguston will provide significant economic benefit, not only through an expanded property tax base but through employment that will be generated by on-site construction of roads and houses. In the longer term, the Recreation Centre, retail shops, the office/professional space, and the schools will all contribute to the local employment base.
With the professional assistance of EKISTICS Town Planning Inc., Beautiworld Development Corporation has prepared a detailed development plan for their 239 hectare site on the western slopes of the Sumas Mountains in the City of Abbotsford, British Columbia. The development is know as Auguston.
The purposes of the plan as outlined herein are:
- To clearly illustrate the preference of developing a high quality comprehensively designed community based on sound town planning principles;
- To recognize and respect the extraordinary natural aspects of the site and respond to these with site-sensitive residential and open space design solutions;
- To recognize the extraordinary recreational opportunities presented by the site and to promote substantial trail network development within the community;
- To ensure that the development not only complements the existing landscape but enhances the livability of the Sumas Mountain area in general, and;
- To provide a comprehensive background review, analysis and description of the Auguston project.
Assessment of Site Conditions
- 1.1 Introduction
- 1.2 Regional Context
- 1.3 Local Context
- 1.4 Legal Description
- 1.5 Site Character
- 1.6 Vegetation
- 1.7 Hydrology and Drainage
- 1.8 Surficial Geology and Soils
- 1.9 Wildlife
- 1.10 Fisheries
- 1.11 Topography and Slope Analysis
Auguston is located in the Straiton Neighbourhood, a designated sub-area within the Official Community Plan (OCP) that encompasses two sections of land (approximately 520 hectares) in the northeast corner of the City of Abbotsford. The general land use designations for this area are governed by the Straiton Neighbourhood Plan (SNP) which was adopted by the District of Abbotsford’s Council in May 1989.
Beautiworld Development Corporation is the major landowner in the area and has a land assembly that totals approximately 350 hectares. Beautiworld’s land assembly can be considered as being comprised of three distinct components.
- Area One is 184 hectares of land located in the northern section of the SNP area. This land was zoned in 1993 to accommodate approximately 1,500 residential units and a neighbourhood commercial site;
- Area Two is 55 hectares of land located to the west of Area One on a contiguous plateau accessible only from Area One. Although physically dependent on Area One, this land was not included in the SNP area as it was located outside of the political boundaries of the District of Abbotsford prior to the 1995 amalgamation of the District of Abbotsford and the District of Matsqui. This land is currently zoned RR-2.
- Area Three is approximately 100 hectares of land located in the southern section of the SNP area and is designated as a future residential growth area within the City of Abbotsford. This land is currently zoned as A-1.
The subject site for this rezoning application includes all land previously zoned in 1993 as Area One as well as the Area Two lands that are physically contiguous and dependent on Area One for access.
1.2 Regional Context
The site which is the subject of this report is comprised of Areas One and Two totalling 239 hectares. The lands are located on the western slope of the Sumas Mountains within the City of Abbotsford.
The site is conveniently located with access to the Greater Vancouver Region to the west, the United States via the Sumas Trans-Canada Highway. It is also optimally located with respect to major regional outdoor recreation areas such as the Sumas Mountain Provincial Park, the Skagit Valley Recreation Area, Golden Ears Provincial Park, Harrison Lake Hot Springs and the Chilliwack River Valley Recreation Corridor. More locally, the site is located near the Greater Vancouver Regional District (Matsqui Dyke) Centennial Trail, a significant trail network with the GVRD parks system.
By virtue of its convenient regional location, its proximity to outdoor recreation areas and its rural setting, Auguston offers a unique opportunity to provide homebuyers with residential and recreational opportunities which are a desirable alternative to other residential areas within the Fraser Valley.
1.3 Local Context
The Auguston site is nestled along the western slopes of Sumas Mountain, approximately 6 kilometres driving distance from downtown Abbotsford. The Sumas area can be characterized as a distinctly rural or agricultural environment which is manifested by two distinct landscape types:
- the Sumas Mountain Uplands, which are heavily forested and are located along the southern banks of the Fraser River;
- the Sumas Prairie which extends south and west from Sumas Mountain to the Canada-U.S. border.
The areas within the Prairie Landscape Type accommodate the large and productive crop and dairy farms which create the strong rural image of the local environment prevalent in the Abbotsford area.
The Sumas area although primarily associated with a rural image, continues to experience change. Economic factors such as housing prices within Metropolitan Vancouver as well as changes in lifestyle have generated a greater interest in considering the advantages of residing in the Fraser Valley. The City of Abbotsford has undergone a small development boom in the last ten years and significant portions of the City have grown into new residential communities.
The Auguston lands lie within the Sumas Mountain uplands and are a forested area of relatively complex topography. In the vicinity of the site, three small distinct communities can be found: “Straiton” — the name sake of the City’s OCP planning area; “Kilgard” — the existing site of the clayworks and hoe to the Upper Sumas Indian Band, and; “Clayburn” — the remnants of the original clay mining community. These communities, with the exception of Clayburn, are physically marked by little more than a small store, a community hall and a few scattered homes. Clayburn is exceptional in that there are visual remnants reminding visitors that it was once a thriving community. The community is notable for the few remaining employee homes constructed of brick manufactured by the Clayburn brick works which was located there in the early part of this century.
The site is also located adjacent to two notable recreation areas: the Centennial trail in Matsqui along the banks of the Fraser River; and the Sumas Mountain Provincial Park.
From the Town of Abbotsford, the site is presently accessible from the north via Highway #11 and Dawson Road / Straiton Road, from the west via McKee Road which presently bisects the site and from the east via Upper Sumas Mountain Road. The Trans-Canada Highway / Sumas Way interchange which provides access to Abbotsford from the highway is less than 7 kilometres from the site. A proposal is presently under discussion to develop the Whatcom Road Corridor as a major north/south arterial connection with the Trans-Canada Highway. If implemented, this route would provide the most direct access from the Trans-Canada Highway to the site and would greatly enhance movement to and from Auguston. The combination of these linkages ensures that Auguston will be effectively integrated into the local and regional transportation network and that the site will be easily accessed from the major local urban centres.
The area immediately to the north and east of the SNP area is characterized primarily as rural residential. To the north is Sumas Mountain Provincial Park and the Fraser River. South of the site is an older residential development known as Mountain Village. Development of Mountain Village began in the early 1980's.
1.4 Legal Description
The Auguston site is comprised of ten legal land parcels of various configurations and sizes. In aggregate, the area measures approximately 239 hectares (590 acres). The following detailed chart (Table 1) summarizes the legal descriptions and land areas of each parcel within the area that is the subject of this report. Figure 3 illustrates the location of each of these properties.
1.5 Site Character
The subject site is bounded by Dawson Road to the north, Upper Sumas Mountain Road to the east, Straiton Road and the convergence of the North and South arms of Clayburn Creek to the west and the Trans Mountain pipeline generally to the south.
The site has a distinctive rural/woodland character which is derived from its local setting, topography, vegetative cover and surrounding land uses. This character is readily apparent when approaching Auguston from the east or west via the narrow roads which are edged with wild grasses and indigenous shrubs. From these roads, glimpses of the distant Cascades or the Coast Range mountains, and the local hills are possible through intermittent openings in the dense deciduous forest which covers the site. Within the clearings in this forest, the occasional small hillside farming operations can be seen primarily along the northern and eastern perimeter of the site, where small herds of cattle and horses graze by the roadside.
Within the boundaries of the site itself, the land is densely forested, characterized by relatively complex topography. Once covered with large stands of Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock and Western Red Cedar, the site has been extensively logged and only isolated clumps of the once plentiful coniferous forest cover can be found intermixed within the almost uniform deciduous species which presently covers the site.
A less evident component of the site is a legacy of the active clay mining days found in the easter portion of the site in the form of reconfigured topography and abandoned mining shafts.
Overall, the most striking and significant landscape features which contribute to site character and image are the pronounced ravines of Clayburn Creek (north and south arms), the sharp rise of McKee Peak to the south, the dense deciduous forest cover, the open grasslands and pond associated with the farm at the end of Farina Road and, the gently sloping upland topography found in the eastern portion of the site. The combination of these elements speaks of a distinct rural environment in a woodland setting and exudes a strong sense of the pastoral and picturesque.
Although the area’s vegetation has been altered during recent history through the logging of valuable trees and the clearing of land for farming, the site remains predominantly forested. Large stumps are present within ravines that function as “nurse” trees for young saplings. The resultant mix of vegetation units is dominated by massive veteran Bigleaf Maple and Alder which have little economic value and were typically spared during the logging of the site. These are found primarily within the slopes and bottoms of the streams and creeks of the site.
The site vegetation falls within five primary Vegetation Unit Types. The first unit is dominated by a Red Alder (alnus rubra) and Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) mix. The second vegetation unit located in the northeast corner of the study area is dominated by a Red Alder and Birch (Betula papyifera) mix with lesser species being Western Hemlock (Tsuga Heterophylla) and Bigleaf Maple. The third vegetation unit found in the east/central portion of hte study area is dominated by Red Alder (Alnus rubra) and Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesiii) with lesser species being Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) and Western Hemlock (Tsuga Heterophylla). The fourth vegetation type is found in the southeast corner of the study area and is dominated by Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) with lesser species being Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum). The most significant open grassland area to be found within the site is the farm site located at the western end of Farina Road.
In addition, a number of small, “pocket” wetlands, including the headwater areas of ephemeral streams were also identified on site. Guidelines for the protection of these headwater wetlands, have been discussed with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and BC Environment and are being incorporated into the development plan.
The uniform age and height of the forest cover on the site offers an opportunity to retain and incorporate large vegetated stands within the development. The scattered coniferous species provide opportunities to retain individual “character” trees within the development. The dense, relatively homogeneous stands of deciduous tree species which cover the majority of the site, as well as the coniferous species which are found scattered throughout the forests, provide an opportunity to retain selected stands within the development.
The uniformity of the vegetative cover within the site presents opportunities for the positive integration of the proposed development within its surroundings. The rural flavour and image of the neighbourhood will be maintained through the thoughtful and skillful retention of vegetation along the edges of the site which abut rural land uses. Within the site itself, thoughtful retention of vegetation will enhance the livability of the community and will reinforce the image of a small town within a rural environment.
1.7 Hydrology and Drainage
The site is traversed by a number of significant water courses and drainage channels. The most significant of these are the southern and northern branches of Clayburn Creek which traverse a large portion of the site in an easterly/westerly direction. Both the North and South arms of Clayburn Creek are characterized by well developed valleys with steep banks and relatively wide drainage channels at the valley bottoms. Much of the site drains towards the south branch of Clayburn Creek through overland water flows and drainage courses. A number of smaller drainages flow from the southern portion of the site and from the large central benchlands. The creeks originate at the higher reaches of the study area — particularly south of McKee Road — as small, perched water tables forming wetlands.
Clayburn Creek has a drainage area of 46.6 square kilometres. An analysis of the hydrology and water use by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, showed this area to have a high sensitivity relative to other streams in the Fraser-Delta Habitat Management area. This high sensitivity is due to licensed water demand of areas downstream of the study area. The Clayburn Creek was judged to have a below average sensitivity to urban development and peak flows.
The extent and configuration of the major water courses and hillsides within the site provides opportunities to develop an extensive open space/recreation network. The proximity of Auguston to Sumas Mountain Provincial Park, and to existing and future major park sites, places this site in a strategic position with respect to potential linkages of pedestrian travel between recreation areas. The Abbotsford open space plan proposes extensive pedestrian trails through the District, providing connectors between Mill Lake and the Centennial trail.
1.8 Surficial Geology and Soils
The site is located adjacent to the south and north branches of Clayburn Creek on the upper slope and plateau of Sumas Mountain. The site is located on a hillside formed by a large primarily sandstone outcrop. The steep slopes of the north and south branches of Clayburn Creek have been covered with glacial and glacio-fluvial deposits from the most recent ice. The surficial deposits consist of a 20 centimetre to 1 metre thick aeolian surface overlying sands and gravels or glacial till.
The soils of the area consist of moderately to well drained soils and wetter, poorly drained soils between the south branch of Clayburn creek and McKee Road. These wetter areas compromise portions of the headwaters for the south branch of Clayburn Creek. Delineation of these areas through an independent analysis by the environmental consulting team and a field visit by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and BC Environment, was used to develop guidelines for protecting these valuable headwater areas.
Of the 329 hectares within the subject site, 88.61 hectares (77% of the site) are 0–20%, 13.79 hectares (12% of the sie) are 20–30%, and 12.85 hectares (11% of the site) are over 30%. The varied topography, from rolling open fields t steeply sloping ravines provides a beautiful setting in which to develop a community. Sensitive development in steeply sloping areas and the preservation of environmentally sensitive features such as the ravines and knolls, ensures the character of the natural environment will dominate the setting and enhance the quality of the built environment.
The site is characterized by varied topography which ranges from the gently sloping central plateau, the more pronounced slopes along the eastern edge of the site and the steeply sloping banks of the creek ravines of the north and south arms of the Clayburn Creek. The elevation of ht site relative to surrounding lands offers numerous opportunities for views towards portions of the Cascade Range and McKee Peak, the most significant local landscape feature.
From the edges of the banks which form the distinctive isthmus at the western end of the site, dramatic views to the south and west towards downtown Abbotsford are possible. Short range views of a different quality are possible from points along the edges of the north and south arms of Clayburn Creek. These views will generally be oriented along the course of the creeks towards the south-west.
Large portions of the site are precluded from development due to the constrains posed by steep slopes or environmentally sensitive areas and will provide zones where significant stands of vegetation can be retained. The potential for utilizing these areas for pedestrian connections and/or recreation areas cannot be underestimated. Given the site’s locational context, a significant opportunity exist to make the development site an integral link within the City of Abbotsford open space/pedestrian trail system. Through use of the ravines as a route for pedestrian trails, access to and from the Matsqui trail system will, in the future, provide a direct link from the site to the Centennial Trail and Matsqui Loop Trail, and from Matsqui to the approaches of Sumas Mountain Provincial Park.
Town Planning Principles
- 2.1 A New Design Paradigm
- 2.2 Conventional Subdivision Planning
- 2.3 Traditional Town Planning
- 2.4 Elements of a Traditional Town
- 2.5 Traditional Town Planning Principles
2.1 A New Design Paradigm
In recent years, a growing lament has developed in response to the plight of the contemporary suburb. There has been a general and multi-disciplinary recognition that most urban communities built in the post-war era have not been wholly satisfying. Issues such as crime, social isolation, environmental degradation, housing affordability, infrastructure costs, physical sprawl, and seemingly limitless vehicular traffic have resulted from a perfunctory acceptance and application of fifty year-old planning strategies.
A number of planners have initiated a widespread rethinking of the standard land development models and their underlying assumptions. Some have become particularly interested in planning concepts that are reminiscent of those used in neighbourhood design prior to the 1950’s. The return to “traditional town planning” and design is an attempt to create a living environment in which the needs of everyday life can be satisfied within comfortable surroundings suitable for walking. Traditional environments are characterized by a density mix and the intermingling of land uses that establish a tight urban fabric. The street structure is legible and it distinguishes coherent neighbourhoods that have prominent focal points and memorable images. The so-called new design paradigm is not grounded in original ideas; the underlying principles of traditional town planning are founded in the cherished classic images of towns and villages.
A traditional town planning approach has been followed for Auguston concept plan. The shift to a new planning paradigm represents an attempt to address some of the concerns arising from years of unchallenged adherence to the conventional approach of subdivision planning. What is the basis of a conventional approach to subdivision planning? How does a traditional approach differ? What are the basic tenets of the planning approach employed for Auguston? The following sections provide an overview.
2.2 Conventional Subdivision Planning
For almost fifty years, the conventional goals of suburban subdivision development have been to make the residential area a desirable place to live, to preserve property values, and to ensure safety and security. To achieve these goals, subdivision planners typically segregate different land uses into distinct “pods” of development. Because the home, the store, the school, the park and the workplace are separated from each other by an auto trip, a lifestyle has evolved that is entirely auto-dependent. We drive from a remote bedroom community to a large, isolated place of work such as an office park, and to a vast, self-contained shopping mall. The residential enclave is insulated by walls and fences the office park by picturesque landscaping and the shopping mall by monotonous expanse of asphalt and cars.
By necessity, land use segregation has forced planners to focus on the fundamental design criteria of vehicular traffic flow and parking quantity. With different land uses and building Types dispersed across the urban landscape, development planners strive to maximize the “performance” of the individual parts of a master planned community. Isolated land use zones serve to minimize adjacency difficulties and mitigate negative impacts such as traffic noise. Indeed, the majority of the planning and design effort in a conventional subdivision goes into issues relating to automobiles rather than residents or pedestrians.
In accordance with contemporary planning approaches, conventional subdivision planning (CSP) relies on an acute understanding of the relationship between land use and transportation system design. Through manipulation of the pattern of development according to street Type, travel behaviour can be predicted and controlled. Streets are functionally classified into separate traffic circulation systems: freeway, arterial, collector, local, cul-de-sac. The approach of CSP is to closely match suburban land use to the different transportation facilities. Parcels adjacent to busy arterials, for example, become sites for commercial development while residential uses are located along the less travelled collectors, local streets and cul-de-sacs. Traffic is funnelled from low density land use and local streets to higher density areas and higher capacity arterials.
The visual character of the contemporary suburb is largely a result of the need for efficient automobile flow. With its proliferation for nearly fifty years, the ubiquitous landscape the results from CSP is predictable and can be readily characterized. Limited access arterial routes border the subdivision. Access points into individual neighbourhoods are through major collector roads which distribute traffic into an internal street system. The internal street network is discontinuous in order to discourage traffic from penetrating into the subdivision. Indeed, the physical result of applying CSP techniques throughout the suburbs is a physical environment in which the automobile is the preeminent and unavoidable experience of the public realm.
The physical qualities of CSP are inexorably linked to design criteria that promote automobile travel. The layout of land uses, roadways and walking paths in most conventional subdivisions presupposes ubiquitous automobile availability and essentially necessitates the use of a vehicle for most trips. Generally, land uses are too widely dispersed for walking trips; low densities and a discontinuous street pattern mean that transit service is inherently inefficient, and; the need for vast areas for parked cars results in inhospitable environments for anyone not riding an automobile. With the creation of different land use zones, we are, in a sense, construction individual free-standing communities — one for home, one for work, one for play, one for shopping. Isolated communities cost more than one integrated town or city; infrastructure is duplicated, services such as institutions and retail have to be replicated and, most significantly, parking space and garages must be provided in every community to store all those cars as they relentlessly shuttle to and from.
The design principles that guided the development of so many of the admired communities of the past have been misplaced in conventional approaches to subdivision planning. Extensive study of traditional towns across North America, however, serves to identify the physical patterns and characteristics of these celebrated urban forms:
- A geometrically defined centre radiates an interconnected street network that responds to the local context and existing site conditions;
- Commercial activity, including shopping and working, is concentrated and focused in Village Centres;
- Civic spaces — squares, parks, schools, churches and community buildings — are placed within the neighbourhoods and they possess a special prominence thereby contributing to the town’s character and identity;
- Neighbourhoods are planned on a full-kilometre radius (which is about a ten minute stroll) thereby establishing an appropriate pedestrian scale to the neighbourhood.
The basic concepts embodied in the traditional town planning (TPP) approach create a liveable community structure within which walking is a convenient and enjoyable experience. Pedestrian trips can replace some vehicle travel and short walks can access public transit facilities. In fact, TTP affords great potential for public transit because it establishes an urban pattern that is conducive to an economically viable transit system. A community planned in accordance with traditional principles would likely help to minimize or mitigate the impacts of air pollution through a reduction in automobile dependency. The design principles of TTP fundamentally differ from conventional suburban design concepts for land use and traffic engineering. The concepts used for CSP stress separation, however, TTP emphasizes the skilful juxtaposition of a variety of activities. There are no clear distinctions between residential and nonresidential areas in a traditional town. By mixing uses and by establishing a vital level of activity, pedestrian movement among local destinations is encouraged and the walk itself is pleasant. In fact, residential and commercial land uses may be built in the same block, even over one another.
2.4 Elements of a Traditional Town
Town or village centres are fundamental urban elements which characterize traditional communities. These centres concentrate a mix of uses within about ten minutes’ walking distance (about a kilometre) of other locations in the community.
The detailing of the carriageways and parking lanes (with parallel parking wherever possible to protect the pedestrian), the alignment of trees, signs and lighting, the location and of residential units and offices are spatially integrated, sometimes one above the other. In larger communities, a series of smaller centres (perhaps just parks or civic space) and one larger town centre, may be placed to provide a focus for individually perceptible areas. The “streetscape” is the setting for slowly moving vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. All of these activities are welcomed within an attractive and well-defined corridor of variable street widths, sidewalks, plantings, civic squares and retail shops. Hierarchical systems of road classification are avoided in favour of “plain English” labels (such as highway, avenue, street and lane) which do not imply preconceived design criteria intended for conventional suburban development.
Streets are treated as part of a complex public space — the area between building faces. Streets are an integral part of the visual panorama of the town and they are vital for the social interplay that fosters a sense of community. The proportion of adjacent building heights to the street width is critical in the establishment of the character and form of the public realm.
Civic buildings serve to house social, cultural or religious activities. These buildings may include community halls, recreation centres, schools, theatres and churches. In some instances, the vista along a street terminates at a civic building which is ideally set within a public open space or square. The relationship of a civic building to the street serves to accentuate its importance as a community landmark. These elements of design make for memorable views along streets; the help to create a “sense of place.”
Streets are thoughtfully designed to accommodate many users; there is no bias in favour of automobiles. The travelled portions of the streets are sized for their design purpose within the streetscape and are not based on the thoughtless acceptance of an arbitrary road standard. The public realm of width of sidewalks, and the establishment of building setback lines, are all important design considerations which serve to distinguish neighbourhoods. Since pedestrian activity and social interaction are enhanced by proximity, the roadways are typically more narrow than called for in conventional subdivision practice.
Streets and squares are the primary structural elements of a town or neighbourhood. These public space typically act as the best facilitators of not only vehicular but pedestrian movement. New street networks connect whenever possible to existing streets, to become part of a regional network. The layout of streets reflects both the character of the land and the designers’ efforts to make an imageable pattern that will accept future growth in an orderly manner.
Connected patterns characterize the street system so that there are a multitude of automobile and pedestrian routes between origins and destinations. Traditional design emphasizes the importance of all streets as critical elements of town structure and experience. Often a regular geometric town structure, perhaps overlaid with radial routes, provides the residents with the framework to develop a comprehensible image of the community. Dead-end cul-de-sac streets are discouraged. An interconnected network of streets and sidewalks tend to evenly disperse traffic impacts throughout the community and produces an environment which is practical, safe and attractive for pedestrian movement. In concept, an even distribution of vehicular traffic also eases the congestion which in a conventional subdivision is concentrated along selected major traffic arteries.
On-street parking is necessary and is encouraged; it controls traffic speed, protects the pedestrian, and distributes the required parking load. The parked cards and an approach to streetscape design which responds to the needs of the pedestrian, slow down automobile traffic. Stationary vehicles, parked along the curbs, enhance pedestrian activity by creating a protective buffer between people on the sidewalk and moving traffic. The street environment created is not only safe and practical but it provides for an appropriate pedestrian experience. In areas with higher levels of activity, small parking lots or structures are located in the interiors of blocks in order to maintain the street wall.
Lanes are incorporated to accomplish several needs. Lanes introduce a degree of design flexibility because they permit narrow lots with fewer driveway interruptions into the public realm of the street. Fewer driveways allow for more affordable, smaller lots and more uninterrupted space for on-street parking. Lanes provide efficient access to properties for service, commercial and emergency vehicles. Utilities may be located in the lane right-of-way at the rear of the lot; this eases some of the utility constraints within the street right-of-way. With improved design flexibility, aesthetic considerations in the public realm of the streetscape can be facilitated with the use of landscaping or other features.
Buildings are generally limited in size and are mixed together. Various Types of single-family and multi-family housing are intermingled with shops, restaurants and offices. The zoning of building Types reflects the principles of integration, rather than separation, of uses. Dwellings, shops, and workplaces, are located in close proximity to each other and are often separated at the lane. Active uses occupy the ground floor of buildings in order to avoid blank or windowless walls which will destroy the pedestrian experience on the street. If a parking structure is to be incorporated, it is located in behind an active use such as office or retail.
Affordable housing is addressed through the integration of a variety of housing Types and tenures throughout the neighbourhood instead of allocating segregated tracts of land for a selected socio-economic group. Affordability is established by incorporating houses having different sizes but similar appearance into one area. Affordable residential accommodation is also provided by encouraging units over stores or offices.
2.5 Traditional Town Planning Principles
Incorporate a comprehensive mix of land uses at a community scale.
Create demographically diverse neighbourhoods by integrating residential unit types and tenure opportunities.
Provide focal points within the community to create identifiable landmarks and centres of activity.
Design the public realm within the street right-of-way to complement the streetscape experience.
- make the “travelled” (vehicular) portion of the road only as wide as necessary;
- keep vehicles between the curbs and pedestrians between the lawns;
- reduce the curb radii of intersections to reduce auto speed and enhance the safety of the pedestrian through reduced street with crossings;
- ensure pedestrian security by setting the sidewalk back from the vehicular travel lanes using:
- street trees
- designated parking corridors within carriageway;
- provide “human scaled” elements such as:
- street trees (vertical scale)
- street lights (vertical scale)
- brick paved surfaces (horizontal scale)
- street furniture such as benches, bollards, garbage receptacles
- small pocket parks that offer quiet resting places.
Design the private realm along the street to complement the streetscape experience.
- create pedestrian-friendly building facades;
- provide vertical scale to define the street edge;
- make “visible and clear” building entries;
- provide indoor/outdoor (transitional) spaces at the fronts of buildings to bridge the gap between private and public realms;
- remove the garages from the fronts of buildings;
- place buildings at sociable distances from the public elements of the street.
Provide readily accessible recreation opportunities close to every home including:
- passive resting areas;
- active or structured play areas;
- natural open spaces or environmental reserve areas.
Provide the ability for residents to meet their basic daily needs (bread, milk, etc.) within the community.
Use local history and context to inspire the architectural vocabulary.
Provide a network of streets that accommodate all movement modes within the community.
Design neighbourhoods from eye level (both an adult’s and a child’s) not from a bird’s eye perspective.
Promote security through the intricacies of environmental design (i.e. mixed demographic community with its “eyes on the street”) not through the false protection of gates and walls.
Create numerous opportunities for people to meet by social infrastructure like:
- parks (use benches)
- community gardens
- residents’ centre
- local shops
- post office
Provide individual privacy in the rear yard.
Provide *affordable housing within the fabric of the community, including:
- legal secondary suites over garage;
- rental units over retail;
- “higher density” housing forms such as townhomes or garden apartments.
Provide opportunities for residents to work with the community or at home.
Ensure that densities are adequate to support social and physical infrastructure at an economic cost that will remain within the reach of the community over time.
Respond to and respect that natural features of the site and its immediate surroundings (retain an old oak tree by building the sidewalk around it; use an existing pond as part of a small pocket park).
Auguston — Concept
- 3.1 The Concept Plan
- 3.2 Land Use Summary
- 3.3 The Zoning Plan
3.1 The Concept Plan
In keeping with the principles of traditional town planning the objective for the design of Auguston is to create an identifiable “town” or “village” rather than another undifferentiated suburban subdivision. The goal of the concept is to reconcile the need to provide an ordered setting for residential uses with the design to preserve and enhance the natural environment. The concept establishes a structure that not only responds to the unique physical characteristics of the site but that also locates the focal land uses in key locations within the overall circulation system.
The concept for Auguston embodies the principles of the traditional town planning approach within a structure that responds to the specifics of place. As illustrated on the opposite page, the community is oriented around two significant centres — the Recreation Centre and the Village Centre.
The Recreation Centre is the “social heart” of the Auguston community and is located in the geographic centre of the project at the intersection of Blauson Boulevard and the Plateau Loop Road. The Recreation Centre is envisioned as the social gathering place for local residents and includes such components as an indoor swimming pool and fitness complex, hobby rooms for woodworking, pottery, photography and crafts, a daycare centre, a local general store and a business centre for neighbourhood home offices.
The Village Centre is the “commercial heart” of the community and is located at the eastern periphery of the community in a location that is central to the Sumas Mountain existing and future residential growth area. The Village Centre is comprised of approximately 50,000 square feet of commercial space located on the ground floor of buildings fronting onto Main Street. Potential commercial uses along Main Street might include a grocery store, a bank, a drugstore, a laundromat, a restaurant and coffee shop and specialty gift shops. Other civic institutional uses that are currently being pursued in the Village Centre are a post office, a firehall, a community police precinct office and a community church.
A series of small neighbourhood parks are the focal points for individual neighbourhoods. In the plateau neighbourhood, these local parks are linked with a pedestrian-oriented spine road along the ridge of the plateau terminating at the Recreation Centre. This road establishes an axis around which the plateau neighbourhood orients.
Main Street, along which the commercial activity of Auguston will be centred, is designed to act as “a spine” that visually links the ice arena complex at the intersection of McKee and Main Street to the secondary school at the intersection of Main Street and Farina Road. This spine establishes a “main street” that is the commercial activity centre for Auguston and the surrounding area.
The Auguston community plan provides tremendous opportunities to give form, identity and focus to this somewhat isolated are of the City of Abbotsford. The plan will promote the establishment of a close knit residential community that is neighbourly and pedestrian-oriented with an emphasis on both passive and active recreation. The community design guidelines will result in a quality living environment that responds to community values as well as to market considerations.
The Auguston plan take s full advantage of the natural setting nestled in the bowl of the Sumas Mountains. The concept emphasizes the integration of the development with the natural landscape recognizing the fragile nature of the ravines which bisect portions of the site as well as the steep slopes which form the southern boundary of the site. Housing sites occupy the plateau area and the moderate slopes while the ravines of the north and south arms of Clayburn Creek provide visual relief and a sense of openness thereby enhancing the natural character of the site. Higher intensity development is established in close proximity to the Village Centre. Lower intensity development will occur concentrically out from the focal areas of the site with the lowest density occurring on the steeply sloped hillsides and adjacent to the more sensitive ravine corridors of Clayburn Creek.
In general, the following community design objectives will guide the character and form of development:
- Provide clear, cohesive circulation patterns with strongly delineated neighbourhoods and sub-neighbourhoods, to encourage a sense of community at a variety of scales within the overall development;
- Establish a high quality of design that respects the integrity of the landscape and surrounding land uses, reflects the unique qualities of the site and contributes in a positive fashion to the identity of Auguston area;
- Create a coherent development pattern which is unified by a larger organization al framework of streets, open spaces and parks;
- Provide a residential development pattern that is responsive to the varied topography, taking advantage of views and the surrounding natural landscape;
- Create a coherent development pattern composed of buildings with complimentary architectural character that is both sensitive to the appearance of the overall community and to the surrounding landscape.
3.2 Land Use Summary
Auguston is a comprehensively planned residential community with opportunity for 2,390 residential units focused around a 55,000 square feed commercial hub, and serviced by two elementary schools, a secondary school as well as numerous neighbourhood parks and environmental reserve lands.
3.3 The Zoning Plan
The approved zoning for Auguston is illustrated on the opposite page. All land use zones are in accordance with the Abbotsford Zoning Bylaw, 1996, By-Law №250–96, with the exception of four new residential zones — RS5, RS6, RS7 and RMS. These new zones have been created to accommodate lots within the plateau area and around the Village Centre that are smaller than the 580 square metre minimum lot size allowed before this amendment to the Zoning Bylaw. The new residential zones have been accommodated within the City of Abbotsford Zoning Bylaw with the caveat that they will be allowed only within masterplanned mixed use projects with greater than 500 residential units.
RS6 and RS7 are unique zoning areas in that they not only allow for but guarantee a mixture of housing types along any particular street. This mix is ensured in the zoning text by specifying a range of residential classifications. RS6 allows for one unit residential use, residential care use, accessory boarding use, and accessory home occupation use. RS7 permits all RS6 uses in addition to the street townhouses. This concept is illustrated in Figure 17. Within the RS6 zone, residential unit types 4, 5 and 6 are present and within the RS7 zone, residential unit types 5, 6 and 7 are found.
Innovative zoning such as RS6 and RS7 plant the seeds for a diverse and prosperous community. By ensuring this mixture of housing types, the Auguston community will provide diverse housing opportunities for a broad spectrum of the marketplace. A variety of housing forms will also cultivate a sense of community.
Private Realm Concept
- 4.1 Background
- 4.2 The Village Centre
- 4.3 The Recreation Centre
- 4.4 Residential Land Uses
A number of sociological changes have occurred over the past several years that have dramatically altered the nature of suburban communities. The traditional nuclear family, comprised of two parents and their children had been replaced by a tremendous diversity of households. An increasing proportion of households are now headed by single persons or two or more persons with no legal or biological ties to one another. Further, since women have entered the work force in such large numbers, most parents of small children are goth employed and many place their children in day care facilities during their early years.
When suburban communities in North America underwent explosive growth in the years following World War II, lifestyles were much the same amongst residents. From each household, a single breadwinner commuted from outlying area into a central city for employment, and transportation improvements were made to accommodate fairly simple or direct relationships between a core area and the expanding region around it. Rapidly growing areas, face three “waves” of suburban development, beginning first with the expansion of residential areas onto raw land, followed by the construction of major shopping facilities (i.e. the shopping mall) to serve these areas, and most recently by the development of large employment centres (suburban activity centres) rivalling traditional downtown areas. with a diversity of new employment centres and more than fifty percent of married women working today, commute patterns have become extremely complex with many household travelling in separate directions for work.
Another factor influencing the form and character of new communities is the increasing cost of land. With land prices rising, affordability is diminished. To compensate, builders have begun to look toward the development of smaller lots and residential densities have naturally increased; the 660 square metro lot that once prevailed as the standard suburban lot is now viewed as an estate lot.
The concept of the low-density residential suburb is one that has emerged relatively recently in Canada. It was only about fifty years ago that the idea of the “romantic suburb” in a pastoral retreat captivated the imaginations of North Americans, partly in reaction to the blight of industrial cities and the unhealthy living environment which they created. Up through the mid-1800’s, the 25 foot lot was standard and minimum setbacks did not exist. Houses were typically built as attache units even in small towns, until transportation advances facilitated growth of outlying areas, and values changed to embrace the concept of the detached house in its own garden setting on a large lot surrounded by lawn.
Today, an entirely new set of values have come into being as a result of diminishing resource, rising costs of land, changing family structure and the costs (time and money) involved in long distance commuting. The suburban community that has been built since World War II no longer appears responsive to the needs and demands of modern life. Instead, the traditional North American small town with its friendly sociability, pedestrian scale and sense of community has become more the model of what a community can be in the future than the garden suburb of the past. In striving to attain these same qualities, Auguston in Abbotsford hold promise in setting a new direction for other new communities to follow.
4.2 The Village Centre
The Village Centre has been strategically designed and located to become a substantial and integral component of the overall community. The village Centre provides a focus and hub for the daily commercial needs of Auguston residents as well as the surrounding population. Currently, the closest commercial establishments to Auguston are the “candy store” at Clayburn Village and the commercial centre on the Highway 11 bypass.
The Village Centre precinct includes a central park (“the Commons”), a church, a range of residential uses and congregate care facilities as well as a commercial main street to form the heart of the larger community. A secondary school site located north of Farina Road will form the focal terminus of Main Street and will act as the northern anchor to the Village Centre.
The Village Centre is comprised of approximately 55,000 square feet of commercial space located along the first floor of buildings fronting onto Main Street.
Other potential uses along Main Street might include: a community post office, a police precinct station, a specialty wine and cheese store, and a bank. A second story of commercial is an option that is currently being explored. This floor would accommodate professional offices for lawyers, accountants, architects, realtors, and doctors, as well as small businesses that may not require a downtown Abbotsford location.
All buildings along Main Street will be set close to the street. The scale and treatment of storefronts and the streetscape will encourage pedestrian use and serve as a setting for social interaction. On-street parking will be provided with additional space for parking behind the buildings.
A complementary commercial site is located on the south side of McKee Road as a lower anchor to Main Street. The current proposal for this site is a private twin ice arena and a service station at the corner of McKee and Upper Sumas Mountain Roads to serve the local recreational and service needs of the Auguston population.
4.3 The Recreation Centre
The recreation centre site is located in the geographic centre of Auguston at the intersection of Blauson Boulevard and the Plateau Loop Road.
The concept for the Recreation Centre consists of a grouping of adjacent to Blauson Boulevard located within the central area of the residential development with the following design principles:
- it is intended that the Recreation Centre will be the social and recreational “gathering place” or “heart” for the Auguston Community;
- the building components are proposed to be separated by connected courtyards, terraces and walkways flowing from one space to the other. The natural terrain shall be preserved as much as possible throughout the Centre;
- depending on contours and the orientation of hte site, the buildings shall be located to enhance the spaces within courtyards opening onto views, wherever possible and to integrate the auto access/egress and parking into the development in a sensitive manner;
- landscaped areas are proposed to be provided to separate the complex from the residential area on the north and east side of the Recreation Centre. In addition, the size and scale of buildings adjacent to homes on the west side of the Centre will be scaled to provide an appropriate transition;
- pedestrian walkways, and trails for bicycles will be allocated throughout the Centre linking the recreation complex with the adjacent residential areas;
- the architectural design of the major building components is proposed to consist of simply detailed, “traditional” building structures, complimented by the smaller auxiliary building components, the setting and landscape.
The Recreation Centre might incorporate facilities such as a Health and Recreation Club, a Multi-purpose Community Centre and Gymnasium, a Community Hobby Centre and a Day Care Centre.
4.4 Residential Land Uses
The current development plan accommodates a wide range of housing opportunities. The Auguston development plan has been conceived as a “complete community” that locates a variety of residential unit types in a manner conducive to establishing a diversity of neighbourhoods. Housing for a variety of age and income groups has been incorporated into the Auguston concept plan and flexibility of housing mix has been accommodated. Single family lots may be developed at a variety of widths, depths, and sizes with a selection of access options. One of the primary goals of the development plan for Auguston is the creation of a new neighbourhood that appeals to a broad spectrum of the residential market; the result is a plan that departs from the monolithic form that is typical of most conventional subdivisions today.
From a multi-family housing perspective, the Auguston plan proposes seven different residential unit types at a variety of densities including 25 units per hectare for street townhouses, park townhouses and courtyard townhouses, 16 and 30 units per hectare for RM-16 and RM-30 product and over 100 units per hectare for RML and C3 mixed use product.
The residential yield of 2,412 units (within the subject site area of 239 hectares) represents an average overall density of 10.1 units per gross hectare. The Auguston plan integrates an extraordinarily high level of green belt and park space into and throughout the residential parcels, making this a truly unique and prestigious community.
Public Realm Concept
- 5.1 Background
- 5.2 Community Facilities
- 5.3 Location and Character of Public Facilities
- 5.4 Community Parks
- 5.5 Neighbourhood Parks
- 5.6 Linear Parks (Trails)
- 5.7 Environmental Reserve
- 5.8 Schools
Since earliest times, civic facilities and buildings have played an important role in the design of cities. In ancient Rome, places were not accorded city status if they did not include a major public space. In medieval Europe the churches and public spaces associated with them became the dominant element of city planning. During the Industrial Revolution in Europe and United States, the great public works projects and showcases of industry and commerce (such as the Crytsal Palace in London) reflected the values of the community. A measure of the significance that these facilities have had in their respective communities is their endurance over time. Even in the most scanty ruins of ancient civilizations across the world, the public buildings and monuments are among those hat have survived.
Up until World War II, some of the best examples of civic design in Canada were associated with public buildings and facilities. In the past several years, however, a shift in attitude toward community facility planning and design has occurred. More often today, community facilities are seen as mere functional elements that serve a particular specialized need, rather than as centres of activity that can give structure to the community. With limited public funds available to finance community facilities, fiscal and financial considerations in selecting and siting facilities often take precedence over the larger community design considerations.
5.2 Community Facilities
In Canadian cities today, public facility planning is primarily oriented toward police, fire, school, and recreational facilities. Services and facilities are needed in a community to support the social and physical composition of the community. The concept plan for Auguston, calls for the development of two elementary schools, one high school, two community parks, eleven neighbourhood parks, a safety centre (with fire and police facilities), and a private recreation centre. In addition, a church will be the central organizing element in the design. Schools and parks clearly consume the largest share of land for community facilities within Auguston.
The need for schools is a function of the expected school-age population. Typically, the lower density housing types produce the greater number of school-age children. It is assumed that student generation in Auguston will create the need for two elementary schools and one high school. These will be accommodated on site as illustrated.
Two central community parks are to be located on site to accommodate regional active recreational requirements. While these community parks provide the facilities for certain active sports, it does not address the wide range of recreational activities within a community, such as linear sports (jogging, walking and bike riding), passive sports (sitting, people watching, socializing), and specialized activities specific to a particular age or interest group (shuffleboard, swimming or tennis). These different types of parks and open spaces not only help to differentiate the constituent neighbourhoods within Auguston but they also help to provide additional open space.
The need for other facilities has been addressed in the Auguston plan. A fire station is centrally located within the Village Centre for optimum response time. Opportunities exist for the police department to have a presence within office facilities in the Village Centre. In addition to a library, community uses such as meeting rooms and child care can be accommodated within the Village Centre. A church site at a key focal point on Main Street has also been provided.
5.3 Location and Character of Public Facilities
Public facilities have the responsibility to help structure and shape the public realm. This is not only true in terms of the activities that they house but also in terms of the siting and distribution of facilities and the character of the specific buildings. For this reason, public and semi-public buildings are prominent within the Auguston Concept Plan and reinforce the larger community concept by creating focal points within the residential districts. A more efficient utilization of land is made through the joint use of school and community facilities which can, in turn, also encourage a stronger and more positive relationship to the surrounding neighbourhoods.
There are four different types of parks and open space in Auguston. There are two major community parks to serve the active recreation needs of the community residents; a variety of neighbourhood parks to act as civic spaces at the centre of each neighbourhood and to serve the special recreational interests of each neighbourhood; a number of linear parks to provide pedestrian connection between significant areas; and a major environment reserve area within the Clayburn Creek Ravine system.
The design of the public realm and the interface between public and private space strongly determines the character and liveability of the overall community It is crucial that the public and private realm work together to contain all the elements necessary to build distinctive neighbourhoods. The positions of public buildings, the quality and character of the open space, the trails network, the neighbourhood parks, the recreation facilities and the pedestrian quality of the streets play an important role in creating a strong sense of community.
Auguston will have an abundance of parks throughout the site. In response to the objectives and policies stated in the City’s Official Community Plan, park lands will provide important pedestrian connections through and beyond the boundaries of the site, as well as active and passive recreation opportunities within the site. The parks will provide a structural foundation to the community, balancing the public and private realms, preserving sensitive areas and giving equal recreational access to the entire community.
The Parks Plan accomplishes a number of important objectives by:
- redistributing public park space from three large park sites to four medium size park opportunities and a private four acre recreation centre site;
- creating stronger linear park connections between the internal neighbourhood parks and the north and south arms of the Clayburn creek system;
- establishing park sites as focal areas along a system of pedestrian-oriented streets linking the Village Neighbourhood in the east, the schools and recreation centre and the smaller neighbourhood parks throughout the site;
- treating park spaces as the structuring elements for neighbourhoods. The neighbourhood park spaces become focal points within neighbourhoods creating a stronger sense of identity;
- providing a significant site for a Recreation Centre to augment the localized demands for active indoor recreational activities.
5.4 Community parks
Two community park sites are provided in conjunction with the two elementary school sites. The purpose of community parks is primarily to supply the local residents of Auguston with active play areas for such sports as baseball, softball, soccer and other active games structured for playing field sites. These two sites will be augmented by a ten acre secondary school located immediately adjacent to the subject site at the northern terminus of Main Street. The construction of this secondary school and its associated active playfields is not planned for the next few years but will ultimately complete the active play requirements of the Auguston Community.
5.5 Neighbourhood Parks
- Within the residential neighbourhoods a series of compact neighbourhood parks provide a focus and a sense of visual openness to the surrounding homes. These parks are interspersed at regular intervals throughout the plateau neighbourhood and help to distinguish each area into easily identifiable sub-neighbourhoods. The neighbourhood parks provide for recreational space at a smaller, more localized scale. In addition, a public neighbourhood park is located adjacent to the commercial area “Main Street” to serve the needs of the community in terms of a people gathering space immediately across Main Street from the community church site.
5.6 Linear Parks (Trails)
The concept plan integrates a network of linear trails that will provide pedestrian connections between residential areas, the Village centre, the two schools and neighbourhood parks and throughout the environmental reserve zone. This system also has the potential to connect beyond the immediate boundaries of the site to a more comprehensive municipal trail network. This extensive pedestrian network will fully integrate Auguston with its surrounding context.
The trail network in the Auguston area winds through the valleys of the north and south arms of Clayburn Creek. Both trail systems originate at the base of Auguston Road where the two arms of Clayburn Creek converge. Within the south arm, the trail follows the old rail corridor along the base of the valley and emerges from the ravine at the intersection of McKee Road and Blauson Boulevard. The trail continues along the north side of McKee Road to the Village Centre which will function as the eastern staging area for this trail system. The trail that follows the north arm of Clayburn Creek winds through the valley along the northern boundary of Auguston past the Five Steps Waterfall, to a terminus at Dawson Road and Blauson Boulevard. Blauson Boulevard has been designed as the feature parkway the community linking the north and south trail systems to form a “loop” system.
Together, the two ravine trail systems provide nearly five kilometres of recreational routes and they permit access to other major trail and transportation corridors in the vicinity. In terms of the regional open space network, the on-site trails provide connections to the Sumas Mountain Provincial Park and the Matsqui-Centennial Trail.
5.7 Environmental Reserve
One of the fundamental planning objectives for Auguston was to preserve environmentally sensitive areas. Sensitive areas include, in particular, all areas within the top-of-banks of the north and south arms of Clayburn Creeks. In response to this objective, the design team worked closely with the federal governments’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the provincial government’s Ministry of Environment and the City of Abbotsford’s Planning and engineering Departments to establish the boundaries and associated development setbacks for all “Environmental Reserve” areas. The illustration on the opposite page outlines the negotiated result; it identifies all watercourses, riparian zones, environmental reserve boundaries, private landscape management zones, biofiltration areas as well as 5-, 10- and 15-metre setback zones.
Schools play a significant role in the life of a community. Discussions with School District No 34 have served to identify and designate two elementary school sites within the Auguston lands. These sites address School District objectives and they are located such that they will fully integrate with the overall community.
In addition to the two school sites within the Auguston lands, the School District has recently purchased a 4.14 hectare secondary school site immediately adjacent to the Beautiworld site. This site will meet the high school needs of future local resident of the broader community. All three schools have been carefully integrated into the plan and they occupy prominent locations that are identifiable and accessible for both pedestrians and vehicles. In total, approximately 8.19 hectares of land (4.05 hactares within the Beautiworld lands) are available for school facilities, to serve existing and future residents of Auguston.
- 6.1 Circulation Concept
- 6.2 Streets
- 6.3 Transit Concept
6.1 Circulation Concept
Streets are extremely important elements of a community, not only as a means of getting from one place to the next, but as places where people can meet and gather for social and recreational purposes. They are open spaces as well as corridors of movement, and they are instrumental in helping to structure a community and provide visual clarity and a sense of orientation. The way in which they are designed reflects the attitude that a community has of itself and its neighbours.
The circulation plan for Auguston establishes a hierarchy of streets that serves as a conduit for through-traffic around the community as well as local access to neighbourhoods. The hierarchy is established on the basis of roadway treatment as well as function. The function of major streets is to carry through-traffic while the neighbourhood connectors and residential streets serve local movement within and through neighbourhoods.
Streets play a crucial role in the creation of anew community. Street systems, along with parks and open space systems and land use patterns are the primary public structuring elements of a community, connecting important functions together in a clear and meaningful way. Streets function on many levels, beyond the movement of automobiles. Streets must handle parking, carry services, move pedestrians and bicycles, and present the house or commercial building to the public. Streets must be designed to beautiful as well as functional.
Streets in Auguston have been designed to provide for bicycle, transit and pedestrian needs as well as vehicular access and parking needs. The pedestrian needs of the residents, employees and visitors are accommodated through the provision of sidewalks on both sides of all major streets, neighbourhood connectors and neighbourhood streets.
The internal circulation system for smaller scale neighbourhoods at Auguston is designed to facilitate pedestrian-oriented movements while discouraging through-traffic. Neighbourhood connectors are aligned to link major institutional and commercial uses within the neighbourhoods to promote such pedestrian travel; the minimization of cul-de-sacs provides more pedestrian access to all residential areas. Through traffic within neighbourhoods is minimalized by the elimination of long, linear streets, the termination of collector streets at T-intersections, the use of a variety of discontinuous alignments, and “pinching down” the intersections of minor residential streets.
Streets form a significant part of the structural basis of the community. Streets are important not only for the efficient movement of vehicles but are more important for the safe and enjoyable movement of pedestrians and cyclists. Streets make up a large part of the public realm in a community and can, if designed correctly, serve to bind a neighbourhood together and make it a more livable place. Pedestrian activity is encouraged in Auguston through the provision of sidewalks, planting strips with street trees and on-street parking providing a separation between moving cars and the pedestrian.
On some streets, pedestrian activity is encouraged by the removal of the conflict between driveways and sidewalks at the street edge. This is accomplished by private parking off lanes at the rear of lots wherever possible.
Streets in Auguston vary in character depending on their position and function in the community or neighbourhood. As the major street leading into and through the site, Blauson Boulevard has been designed to emphasize its importance and special character. In contrast, emphasis is given to the pedestrian along local streets that connect the neighbourhood parks, schools and the Recreation Centre.
The patterns and details of streets work to reinforce the character of different neighbourhoods within the Auguston community. The various components that make up streets — such as the driving lanes, parking lanes, boulevards, sidewalks, street trees and street lights — have all been carefully considered in order to create a meaningful and understandable environment in which people can live and interact.
A hierarchy of streets forms the pattern of movement and development within Auguston. McKee Road, the primary collector, bisects the site providing access from the town of Abbotsford to the west and Highway #1 to the south. Blauson Boulevard intersects McKee Road heading northwards providing the primary entrance to the Plateau and Eastern Hillsides Neighbourhoods. This roadway will be grand in nature with larger homes lining the street. Farina Road forms the primary connection between the eastern Village Neighbour hood and all its important civic and commercial functions with the Eastern Hillsides and Plateau Neighbourhoods. A loop road system stems from Blauson Boulevard servicing the Plateau Neighbourhoods, the Recreation Centre and one of the elementary school sites.
Each of the streets with Auguston is designed to respond to its function and location within the community. The following diagrams illustrate the character of each of the street types. The interface between the public realm of the street and the private realm of the home is carefully considered to not only provide a clear, coherent pattern for the overall community but to make for a positive living environment for the residents.
6.3 Transit Concept
A preliminary transit plan has been developed for Auguston to accommodate bus traffic at some future date. McKee Road is a divided four lane arterial for primary bus access / egress. It is designated as the primary east-west transit corridor for providing bus service to Auguston. Blauson Boulevard, main Street, Farina Road and the Plateau Loop Road will provide additional transit corridors for bus access along local neighbourhood boundaries. The design of all collector streets shall allow for the future installation of bus stops as illustrated in Figure 55 on the following page.