Skip to content

Sechelt OCP generally supported

More than 80 community members came out Monday evening, March 29, to hear about and comment on Sechelt's new draft official community plan (OCP).

More than 80 community members came out Monday evening, March 29, to hear about and comment on Sechelt's new draft official community plan (OCP).

The OCP, which is being updated from a 1995 version, sets down Sechelt's 15 to 20-year vision and objectives for: land use; the environment; housing; economic development; transportation and infrastructure; the waterfront; parks and open spaces; and community services and social well-being.

"Among the main reasons we plan is to develop a vision for the community, provide a plan that protects the special qualities of the community and probably, most of all, provide a level of predictability for residents and for businesses and other levels of government about how the community is going to grow and develop," said project consultant Susan Strattis.

While she said the new draft OCP is "not radically different" from the existing plan, she identified a few changes, such as a much stronger focus on sustainability and growth management and the inclusion of new greenhouse gas reduction policies and targets. She also highlighted the new concept of "density bonusing" in new residential areas, which sets a base housing unit density level, but allows developers to apply for extra density in exchange for including affordable housing, additional open space, fully-accessible housing, daycare or other desirable features.

Strattis noted Sechelt's population is projected to grow to approximately 14,000 residents from approximately 10,000 by 2031, which would necessitate building between 110 and 245 new housing units per year -a leap from current levels of approximately 100 units per year.

She zeroed in on the concept of an urban containment boundary, which would define the limits of where municipal services would be extended.

Following comments by Sechelt director of planning Ray Parfitt and Strattis' presentation, meeting attendees divided into four topic-specific discussion groups: business, industry and economic development; environment, shoreline, parks, trails; growth management, residential areas, downtown; and transportation and infrastructure.

Following the discussions, each group briefly presented the highlights of their discussions, which indicated that attendees were generally supportive of the draft OCP. The majority of concerns raised pertained to the plan's impact on highly-localized neighbourhood issues, such as ongoing tension between Target Marine Hatcheries Ltd. and a group of Tillicum Bay property owners over a possible future fish-processing plant.

The District is encouraging community members to provide feedback on the OCP by e-mailing [email protected] or writing to the District's planning department by April 16. Strattis said that following revisions, the OCP bylaw is slated to come before council for first reading in early May, after which it will be sent out to various stakeholders. Following that, a public hearing is planned for late May or early June, with the OCP bylaw coming back to council for the remaining readings and adoption by June or July.