OCP review to map out how city will grow

Chilliwack is gearing up to review its Official Community Plan to plan for future needs decades down the road.

Chilliwack is gearing up to review its Official Community Plan to plan for future needs decades down the road.

Council received a report on Oct. 2 about the year-long review process that’s about to start, with a detailed presentation by director of development Karen Stanton.

“In general terms, the OCP sets out the community’s growth management plan,” Stanton told council.

With a growing population of more than 83,000, Chilliwack is approaching the 85,000 trigger point for a review and update of the OCP, last updated back in 1998. It dovetails with a similar review process underway for the Regional Growth Strategy.

Mayor Sharon Gaetz commented in council chambers that it didn’t seem that long ago that people were sitting around working on the Future Plan.

“I remember there were some who said they thought that multi-family housing would never be a go in Chilliwack, and that we just needed single-family homes,” she said. “That’s why it’s so important for us to update the OCP.”

Council agreed.

“I’m excited to see that we’re going to be starting it up and getting the review underway,” said Coun. Sue Attrill, after council received the presentation.

The OCP is basically a planning document which maps out in broad brush strokes how Chilliwack will grow as a community, as its population grows.

The updated document will incorporate any changes that have taken place since the last OCP review, in provincial legislation, as well as community feedback about which major issues need to be addressed.

The process will take a stab at projecting how many people will be living in Chilliwack, and what their housing and economic needs will be, as well as what it will take in terms of parks and services to deliver a desirable quality of life.

Consultation sessions will be held to gather feedback from key stakeholders, and the bylaw amendment will go to council after the consultation process is complete.

They’re hoping to be wrapped up by the end of 2013.

Key issues will include hillside development, business and employment, the environment and geotechnical concerns, as well as the urban growth boundary.

Key issues will include hillside development, business and employment, the environment and geotechnical concerns, as well as the urban growth boundary.

See more at chilliwack.com/OCPreview

jfeinberg@theprogress.com