Cameron Baughen fills out a survey at Penticton’s ExpOCP. The event continues Friday and Saturday, gathering ideas to update the Official Community Plan. (Steve Kidd/Western News)

ExpOCP kicks off with a packed house

Penticton trying to make community engagement more engaging

If you’re looking for a family-friendly event, you might want to consider heading down to the City of Penticton’s consultation on the Official Community Plan.

That’s not normally an event that people think is going to be a good time, but with the ExpOCP — a three-day event that started Thursday — city hall is trying hard to liven it up, whether that be with clear graphics, rich content or hands-on activities, like a snakes and ladders game illustrating the trials and triumphs of trying to operate a successful business.

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Ben Johnson, the city’s special projects manager, was excited to see how many people turned out Thursday evening for the opening session.

“We never quite know what to expect, but I guess we got the word out and people are excited to come and talk about the future of Penticton with us,” said Johnson. “We really want to be compelling, get people engaged, excited and interested.”

The ExpOCP continues tonight from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the city’s new storefront location at 249 Westminster Ave. and again on Jan. 20 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This is the first major review of Penticton’s OCP since 2002. Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said the information the city has been gathering will all be incorporated into the new version, which he describes as a “blueprint for all our growth, whether it’s housing, or economy, the environment, arts and culture, heritage.”

In 2002, planners were anticipating Penticton’s population would be at 45,000 and golf resorts would be one of the top industries.

“What you thought of as a plan 15 years ago has certainly changed. Technology has changed, everything has changed,” said Jakubeit.

It’s also a chance to find out more about Penticton’s attempt to win the Smart Cities Challenge, which could bring a $10-million investment to the community to develop ideas around using data, innovation and connected technology to improve the quality of life in Penticton.

Jan. 20 is also Scotties Day at the ExpOcp. Each hour, staff will give away official Penticton Scotties pins to the first 10 fans. Draws will also be made for tickets and souvenir books.

Watch shapeyourcitypenticton.ca for more information about future events as dates and activities are confirmed.

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