OCP update went through thorough public process and was adopted by council
I was very interested to hear Dave Witty’s presentation and apparent dismay at the lack of regard by council and staff of the municipality to the principles, goals, objectives and policy statements that are contained in the recent Official Community Plan update document, adopted by council in 2011, at the speaker’s series hosted by the Bowen Island Conservancy this past Saturday at Collins Hall.
Witty’s key point was that the OCP update went through a thorough, very public process over two years, including newsletters, working committees, professional consulting and municipal staff, workshops and several opportunities for written and verbal input, and consistently followed an OCP review structure, “towards a sustainable future” for Bowen Island.
Witty is very well qualified, as were several others in the room, to comment on OCP process and implications for future planning. While the adoption of our OCP update met with some resistance and an unsuccessful challenge by two landowners in the courts, the OCP amendments were adopted by council.
There are several sections of the local government act that require council’s actions; all plans must consider and adhere to the OCP with respect to location, type and density of development, provision of infrastructure, as well as public consultation for any contemplated development. Only one member of council, councillor Rhodes, attended this meeting.
So far, we have seen no opportunity for specific public input on the latest plan for Snug Cove ferry marshalling, which itself seems to be ahead of the adopted OCP policies for Snug Cove, requiring ferry marshalling to be included as part of a Snug Cove implementation plan and restricted to Government Road (this was consistent with the former OCP, as well).
The municipality is also required by the local government act to have a five-year financial plan prepared, reviewed by the public, and approved by May 15 each year.
There seems to be a great disconnect between the plans being considered and adopted by council, adherence to the requirements of the adopted OCP, and the ongoing Five-Year Capital and Operating Financial Plan for the municipality. I urge all residents to be aware of and become involved in these processes - the outcomes will affect us all.