Chairperson, Regional District of Nanaimo
Help us improve Region's Growth Management PlanThis January marks the fourth anniversary of the adoption of the Region's Growth Management Plan. Developed by the Region's electoral area and municipal partners, this document has become an integral part of the land and infrastructure planning for Regional District of Nanaimo. At its most basic, the Growth Management Plan identifies where and how development should occur to adhere to the plan's eight goals and maintain the quality of life that defines our Region.
When the RDN Board approved the Terms of Reference to develop a Growth Management Strategy some eight years ago, growth in the region had been averaging more than 4% for the previous five years. Residents were expressing growing frustration over the loss of greenspace, deterioration of rural lifestyles, and overwhelmed services. Today, as we begin a review of the Growth Management Plan, population growth in the Region has dropped to a more manageable 1.9 % and still exceeding the provincial average of 1.3%. While the pressure of growth have eased doesn't mean the Growth Management Plan is any less relevant or important to the future livability of the Region.
The Growth Management Plan has accomplished a number of positive things over the past four years. Before its adoption, decisions on land use and development were usually made solely on how they affected the local community. With the Growth Management Plan, land use decisions are now considered on both a local and regional level, creating a more coordinated approach to development and services such as transportation, schools, water, and sewer.
For the past three years, the performance of the Growth Management Plan has been monitored by a group of residents from throughout the Region. While there are still many challenges to reach its goals, they've concluded that the plan has been successful in three key areas. These include containing urban sprawl, responding to residents' views on how to best manage growth within their communities, and protecting our waterways and other aspects of our natural environment.
Over the next 12 months, you will have the opportunity to participate in the five-year review of the Growth Management Plan. The review's terms of reference, approved by the RDN Board on January 9, 2001, includes an extensive program for updating and sharing information and consulting with the residents throughout the region.
Watch for Regional Perspectives Special Reports that will be sent to your home. The first publication scheduled for mail out in late March will provide basic information about the Growth Management Plan, the Review Project, and how you can get on our mailing list and participate through public meetings and other forums. We will also be putting the terms of reference for this project on our Website and designating a dedicated email address for anyone wanting information or to comment on the Growth Management Plan.
Over the next year, the RDN Board will be meeting to discuss ways to improve the Growth Management Plan and enhance our ability to achieve its vision and goals. Your insight and input are vital elements in this process and our decision-making.