Director of development services, Jake Belobaba made a presentation on the OCP process to the Committee of the Whole on September 8 (Submitted photo)

Council sets February 2021 as kick off for engagement on Official Community Plan

The scope of the OCP will be ‘comprehensive and new’

Town Council has set a kick off date of February 2021 to begin community engagement for a new Official Community Plan, (OCP).

The scope of the OCP will be ‘comprehensive and new’. In November 2019, Council adopted a new strategic plan. One of the priorities of the plan is to update the OCP to set a vision for Ladysmith over the next 25 years. The last OCP was adopted in 2003.

Mandatory content of the OCP will include residential development; maps for present and proposed land uses; major road, sewer, and water systems; affordable, rental, and special needs housing; and greenhouse gas reduction targets; among other topics. The OCP will be informed by the Cowichan Housing Needs Report, which expected to be completed in January 2021.

“The scope can be, potentially, extremely large,” director of development services Jake Belobaba said. “Almost every conceivable category of policy, goal, or objective can be put into an Official Community Plan.”

The Town is currently in the preparation phase. In February a more broad visioning and goal setting phase will begin. The goals and visions that come out of public engagement will then be analyzed and form a draft OCP.

“Establishing the vision first and then refining the process is very efficient and responsive. If people have innovative ideas we can then design the process moving forward to research those ideas and adapt,” Belobaba said.

February 2021 was chosen as it will give more time to plan, and it will give time to make sure COVID-19 safety measures are in place for public engagment sessions. COVID-19 will have an impact on public engagement, however the February kickoff does align with warmer weather and may allow for outdoor engagement events.

Staff are tentatively preparing for a visioning report in summer or fall 2021.

There is no fixed date for the adoption of the new OCP.

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