Nelson’s new Official Community Plan will guide development in the city for the next 10 years. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson’s new Official Community Plan will guide development in the city for the next 10 years. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

‘Imagine Nelson in 2050’: Council begins update of Official Community Plan

The plan will be developed by a 12-person committee of residents from various sectors

Everything Nelson City Council does is guided by its Official Community Plan.

The OCP’s commitment to the development of cycling facilities and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions played a role in the 2020 construction of a bike path from the bridge to downtown. It also guided council’s decision to fund the Nelson Mural Festival, and when it voted in favour of building a new water line from Selous Creek to augment its current water source.

Nelson’s 76-page OCP, written in 2013, addresses land use, housing, transportation, infrastructure, culture, parks, energy supply, solid waste, recreation, natural environment, social wellbeing, and development permits. It was written as a development guide to the future of Nelson.

But now the future has arrived. The provincial Local Government Act requires that OCPs be updated every 10 years.

City planners Natalie Andrijancic and Matt Kuziak have developed a process for the renewal of Nelson’s OCP and they presented it to council at its March 14 meeting.

“Imagine Nelson in 2050,” Andrijancic said. “What does it look like? Is it welcoming? Is it vibrant? Is our community thriving?”

She described the OCP as “an overarching framework to steer us toward a shared goal” of what we want the city to look like in the future, and as a guide to future development and growth.

It is a statement of the community’s shared values, she said, but also “the strategic foundation for bylaws, which act as the regulatory tool to dictate development procedures, zoning restrictions and building requirements.”

The review of the plan will take place between now and January 2025.

The work will be guided by an advisory committee consisting of two council members (non-voting), 12 community members, several members of city planning staff (non-voting) with the mayor (non-voting) as chair.

At the March 14 meeting, Councillors Jesse Woodward and Leslie Payne were chosen as the two council members on the committee.

The 12 community members will be chosen from a range of sectors and communities in Nelson, Andrijancic said. An application form will be published soon and the committee will be in place by June.

The committee’s monthly meetings will be open to the public for observation only, but Kuziak said there will be many other opportunities for all members of the public to be directly involved.

“This is an invitation to the public to come out and engage with the staff and have some free-flowing conversations through a variety of techniques, to share their ideas on what they would like Nelson to look like and feel like in 20 years,” he said.

He said those techniques will include online surveys, an interactive website, social media posts, public workshops, open houses, and youth-oriented events.

Kuziak said this variety of formats is needed because not everyone is comfortable sharing their opinions in public in a large group.

“We want our engagement techniques to be creative and meaningful and fun, and we want the community to get excited about this project,” he said.

He said the committee will seek out feedback from under-represented groups who may have not have had their voice heard for various projects over the years.

In addition to individual residents, the sectors of the community that the city is inviting to participate in the various activities include non-profit organizations, advocacy groups, businesses, schools, students, youth, seniors, Indigenous people, Regional District of Central Kootenay residents, and health-care workers.


The blueprint for Nelson’s tomorrow now complete

Staff set to launch Nelson’s new OCP

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