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An Official Community Plan (OCP) is a policy document that influence how people experience their town. At its heart, an OCP is about managing land use and physical growth of the town. The OCP determines the type and location of homes, businesses and offices, industry, institutions, recreation, agriculture, parks, and public utilities and facilities.
Provincial legislation in the Local Government Act requires that OCPs also include: greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and policies to achieve them; policies for affordable, rental, and special needs housing; land use restrictions on hazardous and environmentally sensitive lands; approximate location and phasing of major infrastructure; and local and area of suitable sand and gravel deposits.
OCPs have the option of also including: policies relating to social needs, social well-being, and social development; agricultural policies; protection and restoration of the natural environment; and Development Permit Area Designations and Guidelines, which can influence the form of character of buildings, and support energy and water conservation, and more.
OCPs influence how people live, gather, learn, recreate, shop, and move around the community. OCPs shape transportation and housing choices, community character, housing affordability, protection of ecological areas, resources management, and how much it costs to pay for Town infrastructure such as pipes and streets.
OCPs play a major role in determining how communities can meet their goals related to reconciliation, climate action, equity, and more.
The existing Ladysmith OCP is more than 15 years old. OCPs are typically updated every 10 years or so, to ensure they account for the latest information, projections, and aspirations of a community. Ladysmith Council’s Strategic Plan provides direction to update Ladysmith’s OCP to set the vision and a road map to build the community we want over the next quarter century.
Community involvement is integral to the OCP process because: people deserve to be part of planning processes that affect their lives; people are experts in their own lived experiences and therefore have inherent expertise to share; and peoples’ input strengths the plan and planning process. Provincial legislation also requires that local governments provide opportunities for engagement of the community and authorities who are affected.
The engagement level for this process is “collaborate”, which means that the Town will partner with the public in each aspect of the decision making. The Town will look to the community for advice and innovation, and incorporate this input in decisions as much as possible.
An OCP Steering Committee has been appointed by Town Council to consider matters related to the OCP process and reports its findings and opinions to Council, staff, and consultants. Voting membership is diverse with representation that reflects: gender, age, and racial diversity; and a broad cross section of stakeholder interests.
The Stz’uminus First Nation is a partner of the Town, and has representation on the OCP Steering Committee as well.
There will be opportunities to participate at every step of the process, with activities ranging from online surveys and virtual discussions, to interactive walking tours and in-person design workshops once it is safe to meet in person. Please visit our webpage to learn about current opportunities for involvement.
The planning process is expected to culminate in a new OCP in late 2022 and includes the following phases: