Salmon Arm  

Official Community Plan takes step forward for rural Sicamous and Malakwa

OCP for rural Shuswap

An Official Community Plan is moving ahead for rural Shuswap communities near Sicamous and Malakwa.

The process for adopting an OCP for Electoral Area E of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District took a leap forward with approval of first reading of the bylaw, Thursday.

This will allow CSRD staff to begin a public engagement process to make sure the proposed plan is properly vetted by the public. The plan will also be referred to First Nations and other government agencies.

The process for developing an OCP for Area E began in 2008, but was delayed by a major landslide in Swansea Point in 2012. This, along with legislation changes, required additional research and updates, the CSRD says in a press release.

"In many ways, it's like we are talking to a whole new public about this," says Area E director Rhona Martin. "We need to do a good job of engaging, so the people can have their say."

An Official Community Plan is the primary tool that guides future development of the specified area, and serves as the foundation for all policies, regulations and decisions about land use and development. It also outlines directions for the area's economic, environmental and social well being, considers transportation and the provision of community amenities and services.

The OCP and an associated zoning bylaw would replace land use policies currently covered in the Rural Sicamous Land Use Bylaw.

Its priorities include:

  • Establishing development permit areas and guidelines for hazards.
  • Setting greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and policies for climate change.
  • Advocating for safe and affordable housing, healthy neighbourhood design, local food systems, and natural environment protection for the area.
  • Encouraging active transportation, highway safety enhancements and improved public transit.
  • Promoting co-operation with other local governments and First Nations regarding housing, economic development and the Sicamous-to-Armstrong Rail Trail project.

The plan generally reflects the status quo of development in the area, with a significant amount of agricultural and rural residential use proposed, and Malakwa being designated as a "village centre," the CSRD says.


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