Regional Growth Strategy due for a tuneup

Public input is welcome for the the CRD's updated growth strategy.

A smorgasbord that includes addressing climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and new content on food and agriculture are on the menu for an update of the Capital Regional District’s Regional Growth Strategy.

The CRD gave first and second reading on July 13 to a bylaw to update the RGS, which was originally adopted in 2003. The provincial government had previously mandated a five-year review, which will be funded through a Union of British Columbia Municipalities gas tax grant.

According to a media advisory, the update process examined options to address regional sustainability that was based on input from the public and stakeholders. The results confirm a desire for strong growth management focused on keeping urban settlement compact.

A dozen municipalities within the Capital Region and the Juan de Fuca land use committee provided feedback. All are required to sign off on the updated RGS before the bylaw can be adopted.

A public meeting in the fall will allow residents to comment on the document, which is available at crd.bc.ca/sustainability.

View Royal Mayor David Screech said Council had initial concerns with the review five years ago because of concerns about water provisions being relaxed in rural areas.

“Other than that, I don’t have anything too specific to say at this point,” Screech noted. “We think it’s important growth is controlled by a strong document with strong policy. We’ll see what comes out of the public hearing in the fall.”

Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton underlines that the revisions have been in the works for a long time, so it is good to see something new and updated.

“It took a lot of work and collaboration just to get to this point,” she added.

Langford Mayor Stew Young said Langford has accommodated the growth the original RGS proposed in 2003. “We’re happy with the progress and will continue to complement that growth by creating business parks, well-paying jobs, affordable housing options, recreation and amenities for the people who live here,” Young said, adding he doesn’t want bureaucracy to get in the way of economic growth. “The best way to do that is to create opportunities that allow people to live and work in their city.”

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com