Weighing in at a whopping 180 pages — the combined 36-month effort of over 100 volunteers and city staff — it’s being called a major milestone, both on account of its sheer accomplishment, and what it means to the City of Nelson’s future.
Made official this past Monday night, the City’s newly revised Official Community Plan (OCP) was adopted as Bylaw 3247 by Mayor John Dooley and city council.
“The update of our OCP would not be possible without the many committed community members that came out to our public meetings and advisory board efforts over the last three years,” says Dooley. “It’s a telling and tremendous reflection of Nelson’s deep volunteer spirit. This is true community-building, figuratively and literally.”
The OCP is the City’s core planning document, incorporating months of thorough work undertaken since 2010 — including a close look at the City’s vision, goals, objectives and policies for the next 27 years, as part of the City of Nelson’s Sustainable Path to 2040 program.
With the help of volunteer participation in the review of eight different planning documents, City staff poured over each chapter of the former OCP, updating stats and community information, maps and policies. In order to incorporate all that new information, a substantial reorganization and rewrite of the 2008 OCP was completed.
“This is an Official Community Plan that we can be proud of,” says Dave Wahn, manager of development services and sustainability. “It incorporates and reflects all of the critically important planning work that we’ve completed over the last number of years and will ensure that we move forward as a community in a cohesive, sustainable way.”
Wahn explains that the new OCP focused on cultural strength, healthy neighbourhoods, robust ecosystems, prosperity and resiliency.
Full details on the new OCP are available at nelson.ca/ocp.
The effort doesn’t end here though.
The next steps for the City include developing a comprehensive implementation, monitoring and reporting strategy — to ensure the OCP’s publicly driven guidelines are achieved over time — as well as beginning an update of the City’s primary zoning guidelines, its Land Use Regulation Bylaw.
Dooley says the formidable work on the OCP review and plans for an overhaul of the Land Use Regulation Bylaw are combined proof of the City’s leadership in the areas of community planning and sustainability amongst communities across BC.
THE ABCs of the OCP:
More details on Nelson’s new Official Community Plan
• The OCP Vision:
“Nelson is a prosperous and resilient community with robust ecosystems and safe, welcoming neighbourhoods where diversity, history and culture are celebrated.”
• Five Sustainability Principles that will guide future planning and decision making: Cultural Strength, Healthy Neighbourhoods, Robust Ecosystems, Prosperity, and Resiliency
• The former Official Community Plan (No. 3114, 2008) was last updated in 2008 and does not reflect the substantial planning initiatives the City has recently completed, including:
− Path to 2040 Sustainability Strategy (December 2010)
− Sustainable Waterfront and Downtown Master Plan (July 2011)
− Corporate GHG Reduction Plan (May 2010)
− Low Carbon Path to 2040: Community Energy & Emissions Action Plan (Oct. 2011)
− Active Transportation Plan (February 2010)
− Affordable Housing Strategy (July 2010)
− Heritage Register (June 2011)
− Water Master Plan (2007)
− Sewer Master Plan (2010)
• Community Driven: The revised OCP consultation process provided a number of opportunities for public feedback including an open house last May, an electronic survey, a table at a Wednesday Market on Baker Street, and presentations to the following stakeholder groups and city committee/commissions:
− Advisory Planning Commission
− Cultural Development Committee
− Community Heritage Commission
− Nelson Housing Forum
− Kootenay Lake Partnership
− Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership
• Sustainability Is Key:
The new Official Community Plan supports and incorporates the Sustainability Principles and Directions set out in the Path to 2040: Sustainability Strategy