Gibsons’ official community plan (OCP) will be getting an overhaul in the coming year, but director of planning Andre Boel said the changes are not expected to be major ones.
“It’s not an outdated plan, but it is an extensive plan — over 300 pages — and there’s some overlap, and some things aren’t clear,” Boel told the advisory planning commission (APC) on Aug. 13.
In addition to refining the plan and making it more accessible to the public, the review will look at incorporating legislative changes on greenhouse gases and sea level rise. It will also add recommendations from the Town’s age-friendly process and include areas on the western fringe of Upper Gibsons that were amalgamated after the current OCP was adopted in 2005.
The annexed area still falls under Sunshine Coast Regional District zoning, “so we have to figure out how it fits into the long-term plan for Gibsons,” Boel said.
“And there might be other things the public will bring up,” he added.
APC chair Pam Robertson said she would like to see more emphasis on implementing key initiatives included in the revised OCP, “to really try to drill down on real priorities.”
Boel said the implementation strategy should be limited to five years, “then you come up with a new list.”
The estimated budget for the OCP review is between $40,000 and $60,000. A consulting firm will be hired to lead the process and the Town will advertise next month for volunteer steering committee members.
For the committee, preference will be given to community members who have expertise in areas such as climate and energy, economic development, transportation, governance and engagement, culture and well being, development and real estate, housing and land use, environmental issues and biodiversity, youth and seniors issues, green infrastructure and asset management.
Boel said the committee will likely meet once a month and the OCP update will take about 10 to 12 months to complete.
“It would be nice to get the plan cleaned up and finalized before the elections, because you might get a new council and have to start all over again,” he said.
Four public meetings, each held at different stages of the review, are tentatively planned.