Parksville’s extended work on the official community plan (OCP) is entering its final phase.
At their latest meeting Parksville council received the results of the latest public workshop, extended and combined the two advisory committees and voted to conduct a formal phone survey.
Due to a large response the city established two separate advisory committees from October 2010 to April 30, 2012. The committees reviewed the old OCP in depth and advised the consultants updating the important planning document.
While renewing the committees through the end of this year, council also agreed to the consultants suggestion that it would be more effective to merge them for the remainder of the process.
Council also passed a resolution by Bill Neufeld to do a “statistically accurate random survey” by telephone as an addition to the public consultation.
The idea came from a joint meeting of the committees, which where divided on the value of the addition.
The report from staff to council says it was not part of the original plan by Urban Systems and would be an additional expense that could be covered by the OCP contingency fund.
It adds that while “it is not entirely apparent that the results it will yield will be significantly different than the substantial body of qualitative information that has already been collected … it may however address some of the doubt and skepticism in the process expressed by what appears to be a minority opinion.”
An estimate from IPSOS Reid says a random survey of 300 people (for a margin of error of plus or minus 5.7 per cent, 19 times out of 20) would range from $14,000 to $16,500 depending on the length of the survey.
Mayor Chris Burger said that after debate about the cost and value to the process, council was very supportive of the idea and a more detailed report will come back to them for approval.
At the same meeting council received a report from Urban Systems on the results of a mid-April weekend OCP workshop which was the beginning of the transition into the next step of drafting of the new OCP.
Burger said there will still be discussion, debate and public input to sort out the final wording, which isn’t expected until the end of the year.
Around 50 people took part in the workshops, which were done as moderated round table discussions based around six themes: land use, economic development, transportation, people, natural environment and parks and recreation.
Participants prioritized the policies and issues they are passionate about, highlighting areas like growth and the waterfront as key concerns, while engaging youth and “green” infrastructure reviewed the least interest.
Asked what to prioritize among waterfront issues many want the city to explore the possibility of expanding Community Park, with others wanting to limit permanent residential use, ensure universal access and keep development in scale with the rest of the city.
For more on the extensive official community plan process check the City of Parksville’s website at www.parksville.ca/ocp.