Which way to the finish?

By next month, the Town of Qualicum Beach’s Official Community Plan review could finally limp across the finish line, but that doesn’t mean the discussions will be over.

In fact, we’re beginning to wonder if the acronym OCP doesn’t actually stand for Officials Conversing Perpetually.

If it seems the end of the town’s OCP process has been elusive, it may be because council seems to be looking for it through the wrong end of a telescope.

Typically, governments, corporations, committees and societies determine their “big picture” agenda by starting with a mission statement, then hammering out the details that will get them to that goal.

Over the past year and a half, Qualicum Beach council has held dozens of meetings specifically for the OCP review process, as well, many council meetings have referenced the OCP. The town held a Quality of Life survey with a suggestion that the results would somehow be incorporated into the OCP, without specifying whether they would be binding or merely guiding.

In December, 2017, council started the first of what turned out to be four meetings, painstakingly reviewing the motions, point by point, to create the draft plan. In total, nearly 14 hours were dedicated to reviewing the motions.

Finally, last month, council got its hands on the draft OCP, then spent another four hours over the course of two meetings reviewing the draft in detail.

And finally determined its process may just have been flawed.

“The OCP shouldn’t be a document that restricts actions in Qualicum Beach,” Coun. Bill Luchtemeijer said following the final draft review meeting April 10. “It should be a document that directs actions in Qualicum Beach and encourages some creative thinking.”

Good observation. And one that should have been established at the outset.

The review process, originally titled the 2016-17 Official Community Plan review, has extended into 2018, which has resulted in the added distraction of political posturing by both councillors and the public thanks to the civic election looming this fall.

Those who are still in office would be well-served by solving this puzzle pronto. If they leave it to the next council, they may find they no longer have a place at the table.

— Parksville Qualicum Beach News

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