LETTER: OCP amendment should be considered carefully

Much of what should be discussed is dictated by your community plan and other support documents

Dear Editor:

An Official Community Plan is a statement of policies and objectives which guides a community’s decisions on planning and land use management.

It provides the long term vision for the community.

When an OCP is developed there are requirements for statements and map designations that must be met in relation to approximate location, amount, type and density of residential development.

This is required to meet anticipated housing needs over a period of at least five years.

It also places restrictions on land use in areas that are hazardous or environmentally sensitive.

Much of what should be discussed by the mayor and council is dictated by your community plan and other support documents created from the community consultation process. Summerland developed a 20-year community plan in 1996.

It was revised in 2008 because of significant legislative changes and again in 2013 as a result of the 2013 Growth Strategy Review.

It is a very comprehensive document and the current council adopted Summerland’s OCP in July 2015.

A major area of this document is about areas identified for growth while at the same time ensuring the health of ecosystems such as those around the water source for the fish hatchery.

Growth also needs to be carefully directed. Summerland’s Growth Management Strategy identified that the downtown remain the commercial focal point and farmland should be preserved for long term agricultural use, especially since agriculture is a significant part of this community.

“The Summerland OCP also encourages economically strengthening agriculture by supporting local food production.”

The OCP is a continuously evolving document and may be reviewed and revised by adoption of amending bylaws subject to provincial legislation. By definition amend means to make minor changes or modify something to make it fairer or more up to date.

To quote the Coquitlam city web site “An OCP amendment application is required when a proposed development does not conform to the land use designation of the city’s OCP. It is the process of legally changing the land use designation through amending the bylaw and needs to be reviewed within the context of all city wide area plans and neighbourhood plan policies.”

If the site does not have the appropriate zone for the OCP amendment then a rezoning application is also required.

Therefore the application for an OCP amendment and rezoning of Banks Crescent should be carefully considered to ensure the use and scale of the development proposal is in context with the neighbourhood and within the guidelines of all official community documents .

Mary-Anne MacDonald

Summerland

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