View Royal council will be reviewing the official community plan update process that started in summer 2021 after it was put on hold ahead of last fall’s municipal elections.
On Tuesday (Feb. 7), council elected to refer discussion on whether to restart the process to a committee of the whole meeting scheduled for Feb. 13.
Mayor Sid Tobias said in an email council decided they wanted to review the work that has been completed to this point, as well as the process as a whole given the importance of the document to the town’s future, new mandates from the provincial government, and the fact that council now features many new faces.
Tobias said he would also like to consult neighbouring municipalities and First Nations so the OCP supports its neighbours as well as its residents.
Tobias said another reason for the review is how contentious the OCP update has been for residents, as he found out during his election campaign.
“They were concerned about the inclusion of density corridors, transition zones, hard to understand zoning, no height restrictions and increased strain on infrastructure,” he said. “Some of the concerns raised included lack of meaningful engagement, not being heard in the process of engagement and the process was much different than the standing 2011 OCP.”
The OCP review under the previous council has so far reached the draft stage, with final changes and refinements left before it can be presented to council for adoption, work the previous council decided should be left for the incoming council to complete after the election.
Tobias said the draft OCP was produced by consultants EcoPlan International before the community was engaged on it, and that engagement was restricted due to public health restrictions put in place due to the pandemic.
A report from staff to council presented on Tuesday outlined what community engagement went into the draft which will now be reviewed.
The report said 10 workshops were held in five neighbourhoods featuring a total of 75 participants in Sept. 2021, followed by an online survey in Oct. and Nov. 2021 which featured 169 participants, and three online workshops featuring 29 participants, also in Nov. 2021.
Phase two of the engagement process started in Jan. 2022 with newsletters being mailed out to residents advising them of upcoming consultation in Feb. 2022, which saw 308 participants, and three online workshops also that month which 51 residents participated in.
The draft OCP was then presented to committee of the whole in May 2022.