Courtenay’s population is expected to grow by more than 15 percent to over 30,000 by 2031. With this projected growth comes questions: Where will these new people live? Where will they work? How will new growth be serviced in a cost-effective and balanced way? And how can Courtenay adapt to anticipated local impacts of climate change, and minimize its carbon and environmental footprint in the process?

Courtenay’s Official Community Plan (OCP) is being reviewed with these questions and many more in mind.

Community consultation on the OCP update will launch on Wednesday February 19 at an all-day drop-in Ideas Fair from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Florence Filberg Centre Conference Hall, 411 Anderton Avenue, Courtenay. Try a variety of guided interactive activities to share your ideas and thoughts on community issues.

Activities will include listening booths, a short-film corner, drawing facilitator, “Mayor for a Day” priority setting, neighbourhood mapping, and plenty of information panels – along with free child minding, light refreshments, and door prizes.

“If you have five minutes or a couple of hours, please join us in what we expect to be a fun and creative day,” invites Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells. “Bring your children, parents, colleagues and neighbours. The work we accomplish this year will help produce an updated OCP that will be the overarching guide for all other City business.”

OCPs are documents that identify a community vision in the face of change. The last significant update for the OCP was in 2005. The upcoming review is expected to carry the community forward over the next 10 years. Council has directed that the updated OCP consider climate change mitigation and adaptation at all stages of its development and has joined the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy towards this aim.

“For local governments, land use policy is climate policy,” adds Wells. “With all our other major community master plans now up to date, we also know what transportation, water, sewer, parks and recreation needs and opportunities we have. Now is the perfect time to review the OCP to examine the power of land use to bring all these concepts together.”

The project began last fall with background review and the establishment of an OCP technical Advisory Committee comprised of a range of topic experts and interests. Council will consider the plan for adoption by early 2021, with an update of the Zoning Bylaw to follow. This update is Courtenay Council’s top strategic priority, and the City is encouraging the public to share their visions for Courtenay’s future at events throughout 2020.

To stay informed, sign up for the Courtenay OCP Update newsletter, and learn more about the process at courtenay.ca/OCPupdate

Nancy Gothard

Policy Planner, City of Courtenay