Community asked to give feedback on OCP changes for Area H

Residents get chance to learn about amendments at Open House

Residents in Electoral Area H had a chance to learn about the proposed changes to the Official Community Plan at an open house that was held at the Lighthouse Community Hall recently.

The plan to amend the OCP was initiated in late 2015. Residents of Bowser, Deep Bay and the surrounding area were asked to be involved by providing ideas and input through a survey, open houses, meetings, email submissions and a volunteer community working group, which met 15 times over the last 15 months, with its last meeting held in May this year.

The drafted OCP has included the public’s concerns and suggestions, said Area H director and Regional District of Nanaimo Chair, Bill Veenhof.

“Over the last 18 months, we have heard from Area H residents that safe, walkable streets, adequate housing and attracting young families to the area are key issues the OCP should address,” said Veenhof. “The revised plan reflects these priorities and I look forward to hearing what residents have to say about the proposed changes.”

Protection of the environment and management of natural resources were among the key focuses of the OCP updates.

New priorities that were suggested include creation of an Active Transportation Plan, wellhead protection plans created by Improvement Districts, the uncertain future of rail service on the E&N railway, and a new RDN Transit service to Area H.

In the development strategy, the focus is on encouraging growth in village centres and on keeping the rural lands rural, although consideration should be given to some development in key locations that meet specific conditions. There are three significant potential changes that are subject to further community input.

They are the development at Deep Bay Southwest (Baynes Sound Investments), two lots at Faye Road, and commercial development at the Horne Lake and Highway 19A intersection.

Before the OCP is finalized, the community will get one last chance to provide feedback on the changes.

The draft plan and a document summarizing the changes are available on the OCP project webpage.

Comments can be submitted through the project webpage or by contacting the RDN directly. An RDN planner also holds office hours every Tuesday from 9:15 am to 12:00 pm upstairs at Magnolia Court, 6996 Island Highway West, Bowser.

For more information on the project and to access background reports and consultation summaries, visit www.rdn.bc.ca/areahocp.

Electoral Area H area includes Shaw Hill, Bowser, Deep Bay and extends from Larkdowne Road, to just past Deep Bay, and inland to include Horne Lake, Spider Lake and forested lands beyond.