The District of North Vancouver is reaching out to residents to think about the future of the district. It is in the middle of a “targeted Official Community Plan (OCP) review.” It has assembled background documents in four topic areas and is asking for feedback from residents. It’s a lot to take in and it may be intimidating but it is a chance to have your goals for the future of Lynn Valley. Our neighbourhood has seen rapid changes, many forecast by the OCP and still, the community seemed surprised at times. This is a chance to get out in front of community issues.
What is the OCP?
The Official Community Plan (OCP) helps a local government describe its long-term vision for the future. The objectives and policies help guide elected officials and employees in land use, transportation, sustainability, and many other areas of managing a municipality. According to the DNV our current OCP was completed in 2011 and over 5,000 people participated in its development.
“It works together with more detailed strategic action and implementation plans, such as corporate and financial plans, our Town Centres’ Implementation Plans, the Transportation Plan, the Parks and Open Space Strategic Plan, and others,” said Justin Beddall, communications coordinator for the DNV. “Many of the changes you see today in Lynn Valley, Lynn Creek, and Lions Gate Village, for example, originated from the direction and policy in the 2011 OCP.”
Why should this matter to you?
A scan of local social media there is a lot of back and forth from residents about the changes to Lynn Valley. Some love the densification and the opportunity for more people to make this great community home. Others agree but find the growth puts the community financially outreach for a diverse community. Some don’t like the growth direction at all. For local mom, and now rental housing advocate, Kelly Bond wishes she engaged earlier in the OCP process.
“As one who was in the throws of raising tots and teens during the years leading up to the OCP adoption in 2011, I didn’t take the time to learn or understand the importance of being engaged in the process. If I’m honest, I didn’t even know what an Official Community Plan was,” said Bond, even as a very active community volunteer, at the time the process didn’t grab her attention at first. “ If I had taken a moment to become fully informed, I might have understood that the very OCP being created put my (and that of 60 other) family’s purpose-built rental housing and its luxurious green space that surrounded it at extreme risk of redevelopment. I would have more strongly advocated for a greater inclusion and protection of purpose-built rental units for town centres areas over the more widely considered strata and investment options.”
As Bond was forced into action to advocate for more diverse housing, it led to a better understanding of all OCP issues and how they relate to each and every resident.
“While replacement rental housing is what brought me to be actively engaged in municipal action, I now see how intricately that transportation, economy, recreation, education and climate issues co-relate and I frequently choose to make my thoughts heard to the decision-makers as they debate resolutions and motions,” she said
What is the review?
This current review process was requested by district council to take a closer look at four specific areas to ensure the OCP continues to support the current vision and goals for the community.
“The targeted OCP review seeks to address the biggest issues facing the citizens of the District of North Vancouver – housing, transportation, climate emergency, and the economy and employment lands,” said Beddall. “This engagement is an opportunity for citizens to voice their opinions and views to help shape the actions the District will be taking to address the biggest issues facing this community.”
The DNV is open to all residents, business owners, and employees that work in the district to give their input through May 16.
“In particular, families, seniors, students, disabled, new immigrants, and renters should actively participate and add their voices into the four areas established for targeted review,” said Bond.
For the district it helps gauge the current climate which has moved on from 2011.
“The goal of the targeted review is to ensure we account for emerging issues, challenges, and trends in these four areas, and set guidance through an action plan as we continue to implement the OCP through 2030,” said Beddall.
The district’s webpage dedicated to the review gathers documents on transportation, housing, the climate emergency, and economy and employment lands for residents to review and a survey to offer feedback.
“We’ve made efforts to help people engage in ways that works for them, while staying safe during the pandemic,” he said. “District residents have told us that many people prefer to participate in civic matters when it works for their schedules, rather than at specific times, so people can participate in a survey online at DNV.org/OCP-review. We’re making an effort to be respectful of peoples’ interests and available time to devote to something like this, so participants can choose to share their thoughts about all four areas or choose the topics that they are the most passionate about.”
For Bond, it is an opportunity she hopes others will take, and it could have a direct impact in the years ahead as the district updates its direction within Metro Vancouver’s 2050 regional growth strategy.
“Public input in the targeted OCP review can potentially impact what share DNV commits to as far as growth and population for the immediate years ahead,” she said. “The questions are fairly self-explanatory and presented in layman’s terms. If you feel less strongly about one particular topic, but have strong opinions or new ideas about another, your comments are equally vital and valid. All feedback provided helps establish the direction the district will seek and which experts would need to be further consulted to ensure the community’s priorities are acted on in strategy and policy formation.”
There were also a number of virtual workshops to join, the last occurring May 10th. Details can be found here: DNV.org/OCP-review.