CityShaping OCP Update

On Monday, March 23, 2015 City Council adopted a new long range community plan, the Official Community Plan (OCP). The City’s 2014 OCP is based on input from the multi-year long ‘CityShaping’, an extensive community engagement process that informed the plan update.

Why did we need an OCP update?

An Official Community Plan (OCP) is a broad policy document that sets out the vision, goals and overarching policies that guide the municipality. Council, staff and citizens use the OCP to help make decisions about where we locate housing, what our transportation priorities are, and how we provide recreational and municipal services. Ultimately, an OCP maps out how we want to progress as a community.

The City's previous OCP was adopted in 2002. Much had changed in the nearly 10 years that followed including growing issues of global climate change, rising energy costs, concerns around affordable housing and other emerging issues. The review provided an opportunity to update the Plan with these issues in mind and a view to the future.

What is CityShaping?

CityShaping was an extensive engagement process designed to reach out broadly to the whole community for ideas and to set goals, while also bringing stakeholders and "local experts" into deeper conversations about specific strategies and measures of success.

The intention was to be inclusive of as many different voices as possible. A goal was set to engage at least 2500 people through the process, asking questions, forming answers, and keeping everyone involved as the discussion. Special effort was made to ensure the participation of youth, renters, home owners, local businesses, ethnically and culturally diverse people, and other stakeholders.

In the end 91 events were held by the City or in partnership with other community members with events ranging from 400 attendee Town Hall Meetings (4) to small focus groups (35) of seniors/youth/low income individuals to informal drop in coffee shop chats. Over 4,600 participants meaningfully participated in a workshop, survey or otherwise provided written comment into the process.

How was the Plan developed?

Updating the plan began with a review of current policy. A series of discussion papers and briefs on key topics and trends was prepared. The first Stage of the plan update also included issue identification with community event outreach and a survey. This revealed that housing diversity and affordability was a top concern for residents and business owners followed closely by transportation issues. Stage Two of the process involved discussion of critical issues, resulting in a summary discussion paper. Stage Three involved input on the development of land use scenarios and policy directions with workshops and interactive events. Stage Four saw the development of a draft OCP, its release into the community and a summary of the input received on it. Stage Five was the formal adoption process including advisory body input, referral to other jurisdictions for input including the District of North Vancouver, the Squamish Nation and Metro Vancouver (Regional Context Statement).

What is next?

The final Stage of the process is implementation. This will be achieved over the coming years through policy alignment, such as the introduction of new design guidelines and development of new lower level plans to achieve key goals and objectives, and the ongoing monitoring and annual reporting of progress  (OCP-TIMS).

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