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OCP back on track
Parksville’s two-year-old official community plan update process is back on track, but there still won’t be any concrete results until at least the fall.
Urban Systems representatives updated Parksville council on the process since it was re-launched Feb. 6 after a several month delay.
City council pressed them for concrete, measurable results recently.
Urban Systems principal and community planner Dan Huang said are indeed coming in the final document and an upcoming workshop will begin moving toward a workable document.
Huang said the first step was for them to review the work done by the previous consultant since early 2010 and get up to speed.
The process is now moving into the community engagement and draft plan stage that will run for the next several months with open houses and community events before a final draft is presented by the end of the year.
He spoke of recent work including a workshop on sustainability which he called a complicated topic. He explained it in metaphors like a three leg stool held up equally by the economy, society and environment or circles with the environment as the all encompassing outer circle.
He said if the demographic trends of recent decades continue, Parksville’s population will grow from 12,000 to 15,000 by 2036, which has to be taken into consideration.
He said the old age of the local demographic is a common issue in public forums where some want to find ways to attract younger families while others want to focus on the senior population and become even more of a destination.
Urban Systems policy analyst Kate Berniaz later told The News about the next chance for public input, a combination of workshop and open houses over the April 19 weekend.
She said long term planning and visioning exercises are always more art than science, looking at values and priorities and finding common ground rather than focusing on the differences.
She gave the example of someone who says they don’t want people to live on the beach, but when pressed the main concern is public access and freedom to enjoy the beach, so it might be a matter of working out the right designs to share the space.
At a March 27 joint session between the public advisory committees and staff they focused on the common values and found a lot of overlap, narrowing participant’s single biggest value down to providing “a future for our children.”
People generally want the same things, she explained: clean water, a vibrant downtown, managed growth and great parks and walking routes.
Everyone is invited to the open house starting the weekend Thursday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. and another one Saturday afternoon from 12 to 3 p.m. to present the results.
Between those public meetings around 50 people will spend all day Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in intensive detailed work on not only the community’s goals, but details and measurable plans on how to get there.
If more than 50 people sign up for the all-day workshop they may have to do a random draw, Berniaz said. Sign up at PlanParksville@parksville.ca and watch for more on the city’s website (www.parksville.ca/ocp) and in The News.