What is this project about ?
Electoral Area Planning Projects
Village Planning Project - Electoral Area 'H'
What is the Village Planning Project About?
The Electoral Area 'H' Official Community Plan (OCP), adopted in 2004, identifies and provides guidance on the development of three village centres in Electoral Area 'H'. They are named the Dunsmuir, Qualicum Bay and Bowser Village Centres.
RDN map showing the location of the Dunsmuir, Qualicum Bay and Bowser village centre areas
(as per the current Electoral Area 'H' Official Community Plan)
In addition to providing policy direction for the village centres, the OCP directs that village centre plans be carried out within 5 years or before the next OCP review. At the request of the Area Director, and based on community interest and OCP direction, the RDN has allocated funding in 2008 to start working with the community to look at village planning.
Background research for this project began in mid-April, 2008 and involved a review of the existing planning policies for the area, a look at the physical changes taking place in the Dunsmuir to Deep Bay areas, and consideration of other factors which might influence how to go about planning for village centres in Area 'H'.
In addition to in-house research, and time spent touring the community, the RDN held an Open House in June 2008 to share background information on the village centres and to better understand, from a community perspective, the scope of issues and opportunities related to the village centres in Area 'H'. While we did not receive a large number of questionnaire responses, the responses we did receive were quite varied and helped identify a broad range of issues and opportunities related to the village centres and village planning in general. Feedback highlights:
Mobility (road safety & alternatives to car travel)
Location and types of commercial and tourist uses
Health and family services
Affordable housing/Seniors Housing
Open spaces in village centres
Sense of place, community identity, and how much and what type of growth is desired.
The future of the Dunsmuir, Qualicum Bay, Bowser, and Deep Bay areas, and the roles of each of these areas
Everyone in the community should have the opportunity to participate in this project, and efforts should be made to encourage groups who are typically under-represented
A range of communication methods should be considered, including open houses, newsletters, e-mail and advertisements through The Beacon.
Based on initial research and community feedback, it became clearer that further discussions at the local level are needed to better understand the Area 'H' Community's preferences with respect to development of village centres and village planning generally. Work is also required to better understand what is needed to support these preferences. Once this 'groundwork' is completed, it will be easier to understand what type of plan(s) are needed to help address the development of village centres and village planning in Area 'H'.
- Changes in the community are being noticed, in terms of residential and population growth, particularly in the Bowser and Deep Bay areas
- Support to develop a set of sustainability principles that would guide village planning
- Questions regarding the location, size or boundaries of the village centres
- Support to prepare "village plans" as opposed to "village centre plans", the difference being that village plan(s) would help to provide a more holistic picture of how village centres relate to the surrounding area
- A range of issues and opportunities related to:
The Community also indicated that planning should be guided by sustainability principles. The RDN Board of Directors supports this approach, which is in keeping with its Strategic Plan Vision Statement.
[ Click Here ] to to view the RDN 2006-2009 Strategic Plan [ 5MB PDF]
Based on initial research and community feedback, a Project Terms of Reference (a work program) was prepared and approved by the RDN over the summer months.
Supporting goals include:
- To carry out a planning process that is based on Sustainability Principles, and which assists the Area 'H' Community in determining how it would like to address these principles through village centres and village planning.
- To prepare a village plan(s) which provides comprehensive guidelines for the development of village centres, and which recognizes the relationship of the village centres to one another and to the surrounding areas.
Key Steps in the Work Program
- To carry out a public participation process which provides opportunities for all interested residents, business owners, community interest groups, and government agencies to participate in village planning for Area 'H';
- To encourage those people, groups or agencies who are most affected by an issue, or that have an ability to assist in understanding or problem solving around an issue, to participate;
- To encourage an integrated approach to planning by identifying matters where a multi-disciplinary approach (i.e. involving a combination of land use, transportation, parks and environmental planning, engineering, architecture and/or other disciplines)would be useful, and by creating opportunities for multi-disciplinary discussions and solutions; and,
- To provide a planning process which acknowledges that there may be a variety of perspectives on a number of matters and which provides a respectful and productive approach to consensus building.
The Terms of Reference for the project, prepared by RDN staff, is essentially an outline of the work that is likely required in order to achieve the project's objectives. The work program is based on a comprehensive public consultation process, where RDN staff work with the Community through a series of steps:
[ Click Here ] to find out which step we are at.
- Establishing a set of sustainability principles to guide the project.
- Discussing what these principles mean in the context of the Dunsmuir to Deep Bay areas, and in the context of village centres and village planning. Considering questions like what is working well? What isn't working as well? Why?
- Looking at solutions/options.
- Preparing plan(s).
- Incorporate results into the Electoral Area 'H' OCP/Regional Growth Strategy.
The work program is built around a public participation process which provides opportunities for all interested residents, business owners, community interest groups and government agencies to become involved. A key goal and challenge of the project is to encourage those people, groups or agencies who are most affected by an issue, or that have an ability to assist in understanding or problem solving around an issue, to participate.
Given the interest expressed on the part of the Community to participate actively in the project, the RDN amended the Project Terms of Reference on October 14, 2008 so that those who really want to take an active role in the planning project can work together as an advisory group and that membership to this group is open throughout the project.
The Advisory Group will meet regularly throughout the project to confirm and prioritize local issues, act as information sources for both the community as a whole and staff, and help to guide the village plan preparation process. Any number of interested volunteers including residents, landowners, and stakeholders can participate in the advisory group.
[ Click Here ] for find out more about the Area 'H' Village Planning Advisory Group.
The Project Terms of Reference also recognizes that there are a number of government agencies who are often involved in implementing the policies and guidelines that communities desire. The work program recognizes the importance of interdepartment/interagency consultation and cooperation, and RDN Planning staff will assist in facilitating discussions with these agencies as the project proceeds.
Click Here to learn more about how you can be involved in this project.
What to Do if You Have Questions, Ideas or Concerns
Please contact Paul Thompson, Manager of Long Range Planning, via one of the methods listed below:
Toll Free: 1-877-607-4111
Mail to: Regional District of Nanaimo
Area H Village Planning
(Long Range Planning)
6300 Hammond Bay Road
Nanaimo BC V9T 6N2