Plan shapes future
Powell River residents have an ideal opportunity to become involved in shaping the community’s future.
The City of Powell River will be embarking on a review of the official community plan (OCP) this year. A community plan is a high-level, visionary document that looks to the future. It will guide land-use decisions in the coming years.
Council is poised to approve a request for proposals for consultants who will be chosen to lead the process and develop a draft plan. City staff are calling the process a major review, pointing to changing economic realities for the city and the province, plus the increased awareness of the need to plan future development in a more sustainable way, as the reasons for a major revision.
An OCP is a reflection of residents’ vision for their community, how it should be sustained and how it should grow. It reflects people’s ideas and values and their definitions of their neighbourhoods. It is a blueprint that defines the vision for how a community will grow over the long term, ensuring that future development takes place according to a community’s wishes.
Although an OCP is a guideline, not a regulation, all new zoning bylaws and amendments and development permits must be consistent with it. That makes it a strategic tool that shapes the kind of community Powell River residents want.
The city’s current OCP was adopted in 2006. While it designates areas for different land uses, only in a very few locations does its designations not correspond with the actual current permitted zoning of the land. An expectation of the new OCP is that it will develop a vision for future development. This will be accomplished by land use designations and policy directions which will guide the development of the vision.
Some of the components of the plan which staff are proposing include strategies for waste management and reduction, culture, urban design and transportation, as well as an economic development analysis, which would identify economic activities where the city and the surrounding area offer comparative advantages. The analysis will include sample proposals for sustainable economic development initiatives that are consistent with these advantages and that may serve as the basis to later develop a long-term economic diversification strategy.
What the community looks like, how it grows, what values will be retained, can all be defined during the OCP review. In the end, the vision belongs to those who become involved.