Parksville’s draft OCP released to public

Open houses scheduled for next week; public comment accepted until March 14

A draft of what could be Parksville’s new official community plan is now available for the review of residents, but they better hurry.

The public can submit comments on the 200-plus-page document before March 14, and two open houses have been scheduled for next week where residents can view the plan and ask city staff questions.

The process will culminate with a public hearing tentatively scheduled for May 6 and the adoption of the bylaw adopting the OCP June 17.

The draft plan was unveiled to council and the public at a city council meeting Monday night.

“This is a document we feel the City of Parksville can be proud of,” said director of planning Blaine Russell.

“It will be great to actually have something that will be up to date,” said Mayor Chris Burger told The NEWS after the council meeting. “I think you have to update these documents. It’s not a good thing to be giving (developers) information that’s 10 years out of date. It does set your long-term goals and it’s the one avenue that we have to try and maintain a consistent approach, or at least an approach that’s big-picture and beyond the three-year election cycle.”

The last OCP review was done in the late 1990s and there’s a “really different approach” in some parts of this current plan, Burger said.

After the meeting, one resident came forward to say she felt the timeline for public input was too tight and she felt “rushed” to read the document and provide comment. She asked Burger if he believed the time frame was sufficient.

“Yes, I do,” said the mayor.

By the time it is adopted, city staff and consultants will have been working on this OCP for three years.

Russell gave a brief overview of what’s in the draft, and councillors said they had not given it a full read yet, having only received the document that day.

Russell said the document looks at housing and growth projections for the next five-10 years, among many other issues, and the city’s desire to “steer growth closer to the core.”

Copies of the draft OCP are available for viewing at the public library and City Hall. The open houses Feb. 26 and Feb. 28 are both scheduled for 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the civic centre. Members of the public can also make comment and get more information regarding the draft OCP through the city’s website, www.city.parksville.bc.ca.

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