Port Hardy residents, now is the time to help your local government plan for the future.
There will be an Official Community Plan Review & Update open house meeting at 3:00 p.m. on Jan. 25 at the Civic Centre in Port Hardy.
The District of Port Hardy’s Director of Corporate Services, Heather Nelson-Smith, graciously agreed to an interview about the open house, which you can read below.
Tyson Whitney: What can residents expect when they show up to the open house?
Nelson-Smith: This will be an opportunity to find out about the Official Community Plan update project and how we are going to be engaging the public through the process. We anticipate the kick off will be pretty casual with stations set up around the room and a short presentation being provided by our consultants, Urbanics Consulting Ltd. The intention is to get everyone excited about the project and set the timeline and gauge how we are going to engage with the community.
Tyson Whitney: How long is the district anticipating the open house will run for?
Nelson-Smith: We anticipate about an hour and a half.
Tyson Whitney: How was Urbanics Consulting Ltd. chosen to assist the community in updating the vision of Port Hardy for the future.?
Nelson-Smith: We had an open request for proposal process and Urbanics provided the district with a response to that call that provided us with a lot of consultation and experience in reviewing and preparing OCP’s to complete this project.
Tyson Whitney: How often does the OCP get a review and then updated?
Nelson-Smith: It depends community to community. An Official Community Plan review is an opportunity for the district to ensure that the goals and objectives which were set out in the OCP adopted in 2011 are still important and relevant to the community now. This document is a long-term guiding document for the future of Port Hardy and future councils will use this plan, created by the community, to guide their decision making in the future with respect to land use, social sustainability, climate and future growth.
Tyson Whitney: Any projects the district is particularly interested in hearing from residents about?
Nelson-Smith: The OCP is not project specific. The OCP reflects the community’s values and priorities as presented through its vision. When we set a clear vision today we can ensure that the district’s future growth will be in a way that is sustainable and provides a high quality of life for our current and future residents. All district policies, plans and regulations MUST be in line with the OCP, so this is a powerful guide for district council decision making. An effective OCP provides clear direction but does not preclude changes to the plan based on evolving circumstances or interpretation of policies by council and staff. This is a living document.
Tyson Whitney: Anything else you want to say about the open house?
Nelson-Smith: We want all ages to participate in this exciting project which will last the duration of 2020. No ages will be discouraged.
ABOUT THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PLAN
The Official Community Plan (OCP) is the most important document in any community and is essential to the planning for future growth and development within Port Hardy.
It establishes community objectives and board policy statements to guide Council’s decisions about land use, zoning and development.
It sets a vision for the next 20 years and includes the approximate location, type and density of residential, commercial, industrial and institutional development. The OCP also includes policies related to social needs, environmental protection and housing.