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OCP update process to start

The Town of Gibsons is starting work to update its official community plan (OCP).

The Town of Gibsons is starting work to update its official community plan (OCP).

At the Tuesday, June 4, meeting, council endorsed a proposal from director of planning Andre Boel that was brought forward at the May 28 committee of the whole to begin the process.

Staff has been directed to prepare a request for proposals and scope of work and to identify an appropriate consulting firm to assist in the preparation of the OCP revision. Council has also endorsed the terms of reference to establish an OCP steering committee tasked with guiding the revision, and staff has been directed to advertise for nominations of individuals to serve on the steering committee with a report back to council with a recommended list of nominees.

In his report, Boel has suggested a committee of no less than 15 members (10 residents of the Town of Gibsons, at least three members of council and two members of the advisory planning commission).

Coun. Lee Ann Johnson suggested that possibly more members be added to the committee, as some members might not be able to attend every meeting. She also suggested that council look at having at least one youth member involved.

"I think we should be working with the school district and the high school to recruit a young person," she said. "We have so many bright, young people who have lots of useful things to say in the planning process. The same could be said of seniors in our community. I think it's very helpful to have people represent themselves. With a bigger steering committee, you can have more diversity as well."

The Town's present OCP, labeled Smart Plan, was developed between 2002 and 2005. Subsequent additions to the plan include the Upper Gibsons neighbourhood plan in 2006 and the Harbour area plan and Gospel Rock neighbourhood plans in 2012.

"The official community plan contains recommendations for ongoing monitoring of the document and its implementation through regular evaluations," Boel said. "This ongoing monitoring has not taken place since 2006 because the Town's focus was on developing and adding the neighbourhood plans. Some policies may no longer be relevant."

Boel also said the addition of the three neighbourhood plans has resulted in redundancies and has made the document unwieldy and less navigable.

"On one hand the OCP contains recently added policies and does not need to be completely replaced. On the other hand, the set-up of the current OCP does result in challenges for practical use of the document," he said.

In his proposal, Boel estimates a budget of $40,000 to $60,000 for the process, which was based on similar processes done in other small municipalities in B.C.