Community plan a catalyst for public input

The purpose of the public hearing is for council to listen to everyone’s view of the draft Official Community Plan

The final draft of the 2014 Oak Bay Official Community Plan (OCP) will be coming to council for consideration at a public hearing on Sept. 9.

The purpose of the public hearing is for council to listen to everyone’s view of the draft Official Community Plan. We look forward to hearing your comments.

During the last municipal election, residents called for more involvement in local government decision making.  The OCP renewal process has been a catalyst for broad community input to inform and create an inclusive, forwarding-looking community vision that will shape Oak Bay for years to come.

While many of Oak Bay’s core qualities have remained consistent since the 1997 OCP, Oak Bay has seen many changes during this time.

The Local Government Act requires that the OCP be reviewed and updated periodically, and that time is now in Oak Bay.

The 2014 OCP builds on the foundation of the 1997 OCP and will serve as a key planning tool setting out municipal policies to help guide and adapt to evolving community needs and increasingly more complex land-use matters over the long term.

The intent of the 2014 OCP is to help Oak Bay council manage growth in a realistic way, while protecting the community’s unique character and core values.

The 2014 OCP highlights the priorities of residents such as neighbourhoods, streetscapes, heritage, and our natural environment, and helps guide decisions to support a modest increase in density in some areas of our community.

Maintaining our population growth targets at 0.5 per cent (as proposed in the Regional Growth Strategy) respects considerations for modest density increases, and also helps inform the new provincial requirements under the Local Government Act. OCPs throughout the province must now include a housing policy that addresses affordable housing, special needs and rental accommodation, as well as planning considerations for climate change including targets for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The renewal of the OCP is one of the most important initiatives in council’s mandate. Council is committed to good community planning that incorporates community goals, values and a vision for the future.

The public hearing will be held at the Monterey Centre, 1442 Monterey Ave. on Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. To review the 2014 OCP, please go online to oakbay.ca/municipal-hall/mayor-council/news/official-community-plan.

Residents may also review a copy at the municipal hall, or purchase a personal copy of the OCP by calling 250-598-3311.

Nils Jensen is serving his first term as Oak Bay mayor.