The Official Community Plan Review is underway for Electoral Area G, with the intention of replacing our three existing OCPs with a single, updated Plan. The new OCP will cover our entire Electoral Area (Dashwood, Surfside, French Creek, Englishman River, Rivers Edge and San Pareil).
At the end of September the RDN began hosting community workshops about this review to give residents the opportunity for input. So far, workshop topics have included parks, recreation and community amenities; environmental protection; land use in urban areas and water and sewer servicing. The final two workshops are scheduled for Saturday November 4, in the multi-purpose room at Oceanside Place next to Wembley Mall. The morning session is focused on land use in rural areas and runs from 9am to 12pm, while the afternoon session is on transportation and mobility and is scheduled from 1pm to 4pm.
An OCP is one of the most important policy documents that can be adopted by a local government. It provides long-term direction for future growth and development in a community and sets policy on all aspects of land use, servicing and economic development. Electoral Area G is growing as is the RDN as a whole, and sustainability is our goal as we plan for the future. This OCP planning process is therefore focused on goals, objectives and policies related to sustainable growth and development, urban containment, rural integrity, community services and environmental protection.
Community involvement with this OCP review is the key to its success. I encourage you to attend the remaining public workshops, and to contact Paul Thompson, RDN Manager of Long Range Planning, or Greg Keller, RDN Planner, if you have questions or comments. Paul and Greg can be reached at 954-3798.
Riparian Areas Regulation
The Regional District of Nanaimo has now passed the required Bylaw amendments to bring its Official Community Plans into compliance with the newly enacted Provincial Riparian Areas Regulation. The Board held two well-attended public information meetings and a public hearing in September to keep residents informed about this process.
In cooperation with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Provincial Ministry of Environment implemented the Riparian Areas Regulation on March 31, 2006. The legislation aims to protect the features, functions, and conditions that support fish health and habitat in riparian areas.
The regulation applies to all new residential, commercial, and industrial developments adjacent to a freshwater stream. The regulation does not apply to properties adjacent to the ocean, nor does it apply to reconstruction or repair of existing structures, farm uses on agricultural lands, or lands subject to the Forest Act or Private Managed Forest Land Act.
The Riparian Areas Regulation requires local governments to protect their riparian areas in accordance with the regulation by amending their current zoning bylaws and/or Official Community Plans. Therefore, the RDN Bylaw amendments designate new fish habitat protection development permit areas and/or amend existing watercourse protection Development Permit Areas in each Official Community Plan area.
If you would like more information about this new Regulation, please call the RDN planning department at 390-6510 or 954-3798.
Sustainable Community Builder Checklist
The Regional District of Nanaimo is in the early stages of developing a Sustainable Community Builder Checklist in order to get people voluntarily thinking about how to develop property in a sustainable manner. It is proposed that the checklist will be used during the review of land use bylaw amendments, subdivision, and development permit applications. The Board's intention is to introduce a checklist that is user-friendly and that allows proponents the freedom to present alternative sustainable practices. The checklist is being developed based on a review of our Regional Growth Sustainability Indicators, as well as on research into best practices used in other regions around the world.
Highway and Road Maintenance
In Electoral Area G, as in other areas of the RDN, residents pay taxes toward a number of services, while other services are funded by the RDN but administered through another agency. The RDN also liaises with senior levels of government to ensure residents' needs are understood and taken into consideration. For example, the RDN does not directly maintain roads and highways as this is a Provincial responsibility-but as your Area Director I am in regular contact with the Ministry of Transportation with regard to issues that affect the residents of this Area.
When residents have questions or concerns about highways, staff at the RDN can supply phone numbers for the Ministry and for Emcon (Emcon is contracted to provide highways and road maintenance within the RDN). For your convenience, the phone number for the Ministry of Transportation is 250-751-3246, and the phone number for Emcon is 250-248-6212. These are the same numbers that I use when I have questions or concerns regarding highways or road maintenance.
If you have questions regarding which services are provided by the RDN and which ones are provided by other levels of government, feel free to contact me, or visit the Electoral Area G page at www.rdn.bc.ca located under the Corporate link.