Powell River Regional District rural directors have set planning goals for 2011.
As well, planning committee members have endorsed hiring an additional permanent full-time planner. The recommendation to hire an additional planner stems from a staffing plan that directors have been discussing in camera.
“One of the realizations is that we’re moving so slowly on so many things,” said Colin Palmer, board chair and Electoral Area C director. “Part of the board’s staffing plan is that we have to have some long-range strategy work done, we have short-term work to be done and it’s just not getting done,” he said. “Then you come to the consultant question. Are you going to pay somebody to do it? Or are you going to hire someone to do it? At the moment it looks like we’re going to hire someone to do quite a bit of the work.”
A new initiative that will start in 2011 is to prepare for an official community plan (OCP) for Area A, north of town. While both Lund and Savary Island have OCPs, the rest of the area does not.
“It’s not yet settled that we’ll have Savary, Lund and the rest of Area A or whether we’ll merge Lund into a general OCP for Area A,” said Patrick Brabazon, Electoral Area A director. “But there will be an Area A OCP.”
Much of Tla’Amin (Sliammon) First Nation’s treaty settlement lands are located in Area A. Right now those lands are still Crown land, said Brabazon, but the regional district has a harmonization agreement with Tla’Amin.
If the OCP is completed before a treaty is ratified, it would work within the boundaries of the harmonization agreement. If the OCP is completed after a treaty is ratified, treaty lands wouldn’t be included in an OCP. “The harmonization agreement would handle the interface,” said Brabazon.
Another change was the deletion of provisions for a southern regional district zoning bylaw from the 2011 plan.
“At the moment, the planning committee’s motion is not to get involved in zoning south of town,” Palmer said.
However, Palmer pointed out the regional district has been working on a zoning bylaw for the Myrtle Pond water system area to control density. “If other areas south of town, or north of town or wherever, are put in a position by the province where we are going to take them over, then I would have no hesitation, and I don’t think the planning committee would hesitate, in recommending density zoning for those areas,” he said. “Contrary to what other people might think, I get a huge number of comments about the fact that people do not want zoning until it’s necessary.”
People are worried about what zoning will lead to, Palmer said. “It’s a philosophical point.” He added that Electoral Area B Director Stan Gisborne receives similar comments.
Once the regional board adopts the new OCP for the southern region, Palmer said, he doesn’t think there would be any objection to anybody wanting a community meeting to discuss the pros and cons of zoning. “There is no objection to zoning, under certain circumstances,” he said.