A bigger-picture land plan

Parksville's draft official community plan is unveiled to public through open houses

City of Parksville director of planning Blaine Russell speaks with a residents during an open house this week unveiling the city's draft official community plan.

Almost three years into the update process, a draft of Parksville’s Official Community Plan (OCP) was presented at open houses this week.

“The purpose today is to provide the public with an opportunity to look at the draft, to provide comment on that draft, and that comment can be utilized in reviewing the plan further to make preparations to bring forward the final OCP through the statutory process,” explained director of community planning Blaine Russell.

Russell was fielding questions during the first of two busy 2-7 p.m. open houses at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre Tuesday and Wednesday.

“The response has been quite informed,” he said of the line of people waiting at his land-use station, one of several different themes, with others focusing on open space, utilities and development permit areas.

He explained the main land-use change in the new document is the addition of “transitional residential lands” as buffers between higher density multi-unit residential zones and quieter single unit areas.

The OCP is a bylaw meant to set the community vision and values to guide bigger picture decision-making. It is a best-use guide that doesn’t set zoning, but is supposed to be a foundation for future policies and regulations on land use and development and clarify the primary goals and objectives of the community’s vision.

The lengthy update process has included work by two public advisory committees, open houses, workshops, surveys and a change in consultants working on the project.

While the ongoing work has been available to the public, this was the first public presentation of the completed draft which was accepted by council on Feb. 18.

The draft is available on the city’s website (www.city.parksville.bc.ca) and at the planning department counter in the PCTC (city hall). Feedback is invited until March 14 before it is forwarded to council for first reading, projected for the April 3 regular council meeting.

Following the Local Government Act, the updated OCP will then be considered in conjunction with the city’s financial plan and other relevant plans and policies.

From there it will be sent to another public hearing in early May with final adoption tentatively planned for June.

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