Parksville OCP gets into the details

HB Lanarc’s Mark Holland, left, facilitated work on questions the public tackled at workshops in November. - Auren Ruvinsky
HB Lanarc’s Mark Holland, left, facilitated work on questions the public tackled at workshops in November.
— image credit: Auren Ruvinsky

Despite a lull in the public phases of Parksville’s official community plan (OCP) update, it is still moving forward.

Council voted to start the long update process last spring and the first round of public workshops were held in November.

Since then city staff, consultants HB Lanarc and two public advisory committees have been processing the public input, doing research and developing further details, according to Parksville Director of Community Planning Gayle Jackson.

“We started at a very high conceptual level,” she said, adding since then the “committees have been working on the same questions the public did at the public workshops.”

At recent meetings they have been exploring details of what people would like to see in the city and using test cases like what interests the city should capitalize on.

One example is the idea of making Parksville an outdoor sports centre and what opportunities the city and businesses would exploit to move in that direction.

The two committees include a cross section of the public with a total of 18 members including business and political leaders and citizens without direct group affiliations.

Jackson pointed out the committee meetings are posted on the city website and open to the public, but only members can take part.

This Thursday there was an all day workshop for city staff to work on servicing, development, finance and behind the scenes details.

“Right now we’re going through a huge data collection phase,” Jackson said, adding that an OCP is “way more than just talk.”

There is a lot of very fine detail required by provincial legislation such as the capacities of specific categories of land use and inventories of public facilities, greenhouse gas emissions and potential hazards.

While the process had been estimated at 18 to 24 months, Jackson stressed that was just a general guide and that they will not rush anything, “we just want to do the process properly,” she said, indicating it will take as long as it needs to.

She estimated they were between a third and half way through the overall process and the next public stage will be more casual drop-in style open houses with plenty of public notice in the next month or so.

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