The City of Duncan is in the process of forming an 11-member advisory committee as it moves forward in the process of updating its Official Community Plan.
At its meeting on March 15, council directed staff to seek applications from the public who want to join the OCP advisory committee.
The committee will be comprised of one member of council, who will be its chairperson, a member of the city’s advisory design panel, a member of the Downtown Duncan BIA, a member of the business community along the highway corridor, a representative of Cowichan Tribes and six members at large who have a significant connection to Duncan.
A community engagement strategy is currently being drafted to guide the review that is expected to include robust public engagement opportunities, stakeholder engagement, council presentations and input opportunities.
The OCP advisory committee will act in a strictly advisory role.
The city will consider the input and recommendations of the committee, but is not bound by them.
Urban Systems Ltd. was awarded the $144,000-contract to be the consultants for the review of the OCP at a previous council meeting, and the review and update is scheduled to be completed by May, 2022.
Michelle Geneau, Duncan’s planning manager, said the OCP was last updated in 2007 and, since then, the city has undertaken numerous studies and plans that have impacts on the OCP.
“This review will update and review those plans and incorporate them into the city’s planning documents, as well as look at our development planning areas,” she said.
“The timing of the review works well as the Cowichan Valley Regional District and the Municipality of North Cowichan are also reviewing and updating their OCPs right now.”
A staff report said the OCP update will capture the city’s developments over the past 13 years and reflect the city’s desire to encourage sustainable and efficient growth in response to the 2017 declaration of a climate emergency.
“The OCP will guide the development of the city’s neighbourhoods and commercial areas over the next 20 years and will consider greenhouse gas emissions, housing needs and transportation goals,” the report said.
“The plan will contain clear community goals and objectives and provide a road map to achieving them. This includes the synthesizing and ranking of short, medium, and long-term actions, and the development of an OCP implementation strategy and monitoring tools.”
Coun. Tom Duncan said he has seen a number of development applications that have come to the city with variance requests that require significant work from staff, so he’s in full support of the review.
“I think it’s time for an update of the OCP,” he said.
“I have no doubt that the city’s population will go over 5,000 by the time of the next census, so we’re at a crucial point in the development of the city and I support getting this done now so we can move forward.”