TORONTO, Nov. 01, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) announced the 2017 winners of the Excellence in Planning Awards today at an event held at Queen’s Park.

The Excellence in Planning Awards recognize innovation, creativity, professionalism, problem-solving, and communications in urban and community design, planning studies or reports, and public education. These are the best of the best in urban and rural planning across the Province.

“The 2017 OPPI Excellence in Planning Awards celebrate the very best of planning and role of Registered Professional Planners (RPPs) to improve and strengthen the communities across Ontario. RPPs are the professionals specifically educated, trained and ethically committed to guiding decision makers, stakeholders and the public along the better-informed path to inspired communities in the public interest. Today’s award winners showcase those who are leading the way in shaping sustainable communities,” says OPPI President, Jason Ferrigan, RPP, who presented the awards.

“I’m pleased to celebrate these awards with OPPI. As a former city councillor and a former small-town mayor, I know planning is a critical, and the better we are at it, the easier it is to turn our cities into communities and our streets into neighbourhoods. RPPs bring that level of excellence to Ontario’s planning system at a time when it has never been more urgently needed,” says Ted McMeekin, MPP, Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale.

The winners in this year’s categories are:

Urban / Community Design
Windmill Development Group, Dream Unlimited, Perkins + Will, and Fotenn Planning + Design
Zibi Master Plan

Municipal Statutory Planning Studies, Reports, Documents
City of London
The London Plan

ERA Architects, Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal, United Way Toronto, City of Toronto & Toronto Public Health
RAC Zone

Research/ New Directions
Civicplan
PlanLocal: Safe Streets

WSP Canada / Metrolinx
New Mobility Background Paper for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

Communications / Public Education
City of London
ReThink London

City of Kitchener
Love My Hood: Kitchener's Guide to Great Neighbourhoods

Community Planning & Development Studies/Reports
City of Kitchener
Planning Around Rapid Transit Stations - PARTS Central Plan

In addition, the OPPI and Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Healthy Communities Award was given to the following recipients. This special award recognizes excellence in creating healthy communities.

OPPI and Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario’s Healthy Communities Award
City of London
The London Plan

City of London
ReThink London

Windmill Development Group, Dream Unlimited, Perkins + Will, and Fotenn Planning + Design
Zibi Master Plan

The annual awards event also coincides with another key planning celebration. Next week on November 8th, planners around the world will celebrate World Town Planning Day, raising awareness of the importance of planning in their communities.

OPPI is currently seeking enhanced self-regulation of the planning profession through Bill 122. The importance of planning and the role of the planning profession in creating and fostering healthy communities - putting the public interest first - should not be overlooked. The government has updated much of the planning legislation in this province and it needs to now update the 25-year-old legislation that regulates planners as part of an overall modernizing the planning system in Ontario. Renewed and strengthened legislation that supports professional planners and protects the public interest in Ontario is important. It gives the public confidence in the work that planners do and it helps to reinforce the value of the profession’s work. Great Plans Need Great Planners. The time is now to move Bill 122 forward. ontarioplanners.ca/Who-We-Are/Professional-Regulation

About the Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI)
OPPI is the recognized voice of the Province’s planning profession. Our almost 4,500 members work in government, private practice, universities, and not-for-profit agencies in the fields of urban and rural development, community design, environmental planning, transportation, health, social services, heritage conservation, housing, and economic development. Members meet quality practice requirements and are accountable to OPPI and the public to practice ethically and to abide by a Professional Code of Practice. Only Full Members are authorized by the Ontario Professional Planners Institute Act, 1994, to use the title “Registered Professional Planner” (or “RPP”).

Sarah Snowdon, Communications Manager
416-838-3423 or s.snowdon@ontarioplanners.ca

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