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New measures aim to make developments easier to understand and less secretive

The city is trying to bust the myth that many development projects become done deals from the get go behind closed doors.

On Monday, Councillor Peter Hume announced new initiatives, including a pilot project for Capital ward. Certain community group members will be allowed to join in the meetings that have previously been open only to developers and city staff.

"So it just makes the process more open and transparent and hopefully people will have much more confidence in the planning process at the city."

Hume said Capital ward was selected because it has a "manageable" number of projects in the queue. He added if it goes well, it will be opened up to include all parts of the city.

Hume also explained that jargon will be eliminated from planning reports, which will also feature a one page easy-to-read summary.

"Our reports were becoming very technical and almost, you needed a degree in urban planning to really understand what was happening."

New street level signs posted on properties being developed will also follow suit. They'll list exactly what is being proposed, include an image of the project and contact information for city planners.

The city has faced major criticism in the past from residents who complained there was no consistency when it came to the approval of projects and how the communities only get to weigh in in the later stages.

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