The Village of Warfield is embarking on an ambitious new project – updating its Official Community Plan (OCP) for the first time in 33 years.
Council is asking residents to get involved and become part of an advisory committee for meetings with a well-established consulting group from Whistler.
But what is an OCP and why is it important to the community-at-large?
Traditionally, an OCP would deal with zoning, building codes and development, which may not sound engaging to most.
“They still do (involve that),” says Warfield’s Chief Financial Officer Jackie Patridge. “But now they also deal with social issues, sustainability and environmental goals. If done well it sets a direction for the community for the next five to 20 years.”
An effective OCP defines forward thinking, such as does the community want to stay the same size or grow, what services are available for all ages, does the community want to attract businesses or build new amenities, like parks or a senior’s centre.
“Every resident will have an opportunity to express their opinion,” Patridge told the Trail Times. “Perhaps someone wants to see more walking trails, or would like to see more development – and are they willing to pay higher taxes.”
Updating the official plan is expensive, but earlier this year, the village secured almost $78,000 from the federal gas tax program that was earmarked for an Integrated Official Community Plan.
The Integrated OCP mandate aligns with the community’s long term vision and ensures social, economic and environmental goals are embedded directly into policies.
“Measuring indicator trends toward or away from a community’s vision is essential to provide transparency, inform decision-making, enable continuous improvement, and inform action planning or council priorities,” states a report by the consulting group, Whistler Centre for Sustainability. “The initial set of indicators provided with an Integrated OCP will be based on the type of data currently available, and on what the community identifies as important to monitor, related to the goals.”
Warfield Mayor Ted Pahl says council is looking forward to getting the OCP process underway.
“This will be a great opportunity for residents to get involved and really contribute to the future of Warfield,” he said. “We have need of up to 15 people to work with council and our consulting group. We have had several people who are engaged already but if you are interested or want more information please contact the village office.”