Regional District of Nanaimo trying to clarify process for regional growth strategy ammendments

The issue came to the forefront in Qualicum Beach in relation to development proposal at Pheasant Glen

The Regional District of Nanaimo is looking to clarify the process to change their Regional Growth Strategy.

The issue arose after Qualicum Beach council considered a proposed housing development at Pheasant Glen Golf Resort in late 2013, which council said at the time would be a minor amendment to the RGS.

“The Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) can be amended in two ways, the regular process, which is a longer process that requires more approvals,” said Paul Thompson, RDN manager of long-range planning, explaining a minor amendment is easier.

Thompson said the Qualicum Beach amendment request was the only one the RDN has received in several years and while that project isn’t currently on council’s agenda, it did eventually spark the current review of the definition of minor amendment.

The amendment would lay out what qualifies as a minor amendment in a simple list. Anything not on the list would be a regular amendment.

As the RDN’s highest level plan, the RGS is meant to “provide a regional vision for sustainable growth,” Thompson said, explaining that it has 11 goals and associated policies to help guide growth with a regional perspective across the RDN’s four municipalities and surrounding rural areas.

“It is a commitment made by the RDN and its member municipalities to follow a course of action in relation to social, economic and environmental goals,” he said.

The RGS looks at a roughly 20-year time frame and the board considers updating it every five years, which Thompson said they will do in the next year or so.

Qualicum Beach Mayor Teunis Westbroek said he’s happy the amendment would help clarify the process. He said the town will address related issues like growth on the town boundaries in their next official community plan review, instead of in a proposed South Qualicum Beach plan.

The RDN’s public hearing will be held this Wednesday, April 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the RDN board chambers, 6300 Hammond Bay Road, Nanaimo. People can have their say in person, through their RDN representative, or by written submission. Written submissions must be received by e-mail (planning@rdn.bc.ca), or in writing at the office by 4:30 p.m., April 13, 2016.

For more information call 250-954-3798, e-mail planning@rdn.bc.ca, or visit www.rdn.bc.ca.

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