Sooke residents will get a final opportunity to weigh in on the proposed Official Community Plan at a special meeting of council.
Sooke council has scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. at the District of Sooke’s municipal hall after giving second reading on Sept. 8 to a bylaw proposal that will define policies for land use and development within the proposed OCP.
Streamlining the existing OCP is part of an extensive process that began in 2017.
The evolution of the draft OCP is the result of significant community input, the District of Sooke noted in a staff report.
Public meetings were held in May, June and July of this year, and hundreds of residents and numerous stakeholder groups provided feedback through participation boards at local businesses, online forums, virtual stakeholder meetings, letters, phone calls, community pop-ups and events.
Further review has been conducted by the Capital Regional District’s Planning and Protective Services Committee and other external agencies, including provincial ministries. The CRD’s Planning and Protective Services Committee forwarded Sooke’s Regional Context Statement to the CRD board for consideration in May, and it was accepted in June.
Sooke council completed its review and passed a motion to have staff complete changes to the proposed OCP at a special meeting in July.
“It’s late in the term to bring such a significant document forward,” said Mayor Maja Tait. “My preference, as stated in chambers, would have been to have the next council understand the document and its intentions, and to conduct further consultation with the public before the bylaw process moves ahead.”
The public hearing is an example of democracy in action, said Coun. Al Beddows.
“Council has reviewed the OCP at great length, and now the public has a final opportunity to provide comment,” he said. “There are some people who don’t like it, but the majority supports it.”
Beddows stressed it’s important to remember the OCP is a “living document,” and can be changed when necessary by council.
Doors for the public hearing will open at 6:30 p.m. People who wish to speak can sign up to do so upon arrival and throughout the meeting. While speaking duration will not be restricted, limitations may be made by the chair to assist with equity and fairness, and to avoid redundancy.
Written submissions will also be accepted until noon on Sept. 27 at email@example.com.
For more information on the OCP review, visit letstalk.sooke.ca/ocp.