Evan Peterson from Barefoot Planning and Design, and Chris Hutton from the Municipality North Cowichan, were handed the gold award for Excellence in Policy Planning by the Planning Institute of British Columbia on May 8 for their work developing the Bell McKinnon local area plan. (Submitted photo)

Evan Peterson from Barefoot Planning and Design, and Chris Hutton from the Municipality North Cowichan, were handed the gold award for Excellence in Policy Planning by the Planning Institute of British Columbia on May 8 for their work developing the Bell McKinnon local area plan. (Submitted photo)

North Cowichan’s plan for Bell McKinnon wins award

Plan recognized for excellence in policy planning

The Municipality of North Cowichan took top honours for its Bell McKinnon local area plan at an award ceremony in Vancouver on May 8.

The Planning Institute of British Columbia gave the gold award for Excellence in Policy Planning in the small town and rural areas category to the municipality and its consultant, Barefoot Planning & Design, for the plan, which was recognized as an example of excellence in policy planning.

North Cowichan began work on the Bell McKinnon local area plan in 2016 after the Cowichan Valley Regional Hospital District selected a site in the neighbourhood as a possible location for a new state-of-the-art hospital to replace the aging Cowichan District Hospital.

The plan was adopted in 2018 with the vision of creating a model green growth centre that is a vibrant, walkable, urban village that facilitates healthy living at all stages of life.

The plan was developed through a comprehensive community engagement process with North Cowichan staff and decision-makers, stakeholders and service providers, neighbourhood residents, landowners, and employees, and local First Nations.

“The Bell McKinnon local area plan is critical to development of a new neighbourhood area centred around the future Cowichan District Hospital site on Bell McKinnon Road,” said Mayor Al Siebring.

“This plan sets a policy framework to support this important community corridor as it transitions from primarily rural residential to a compact, sustainable growth centre over the next 20 to 30 years.”