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Column: ‘It’s your city and your ideas are key’ for Salmon Arm OCP review

Council Report by Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond
City of Salmon Arm staff are joined by Kong during an official community plan pop-up event at the Silverbacks game at Shaw Centre on Jan. 24, 204. (Photo contributed)

As a city, we’re updating our official community plan (OCP) and we want to hear from you.

The OCP Review Project is now underway. An OCP provides a community with an overall vision and direction for the future. Ours was last updated in 2011 and its now time for a comprehensive review. Much has changed since 2011 and an updated OCP will help us navigate what happens in the short-, medium- and long-term future.

It’s your city and your ideas are key to updating our community’s plan. The public engagement process has now begun and work will continue throughout 2024 with a final plan to be presented in early 2025.

The OCP Review Steering Committee has been established and its role is to support and assist council ensuring that the revised OCP document is reflective of, and connected to, the public input received in the engagement process. The committee is made up of the mayor and one member of council (I am grateful to have been selected), members from a wide variety of community groups and services as well as six members at large, and is supported by the city’s planning department.

It’s the goal of the city and the committee to engage residents of all ages and walks of life to participate in a wide number of activities to collect valuable feedback. To that end, watch for pop-up events around the community in the weeks and months to come, in addition to online surveys and other opportunities to share feedback.

The OCP is a critical document for planning purposes and it guides much of the work that we are legislated to conduct on the provincial Local Government Act. It impacts our zoning and land-use policies. It covers a range of important areas of community development including residential, commercial and industrial areas, parks, recreation and greenways, transportation, utilities and infrastructure, arts, culture and heritage, and overall community services.

Last spring, the provincial government passed important housing legislation that will profoundly change zoning regulations in B.C. Some of those changes are already in effect, and the majority will take effect at the end of June. The timing of our OCP update is ideal putting us in a good position to align our vision for our community with the new provincial legislation.

If you have questions or comments, please reach out to the planning department, watch for public events and sign up for updates by e-mailing to share your ideas for your city.

Louise Wallace Richmond is a councillor with the City of Salmon Arm.