Sooke councillor wants residents’ thoughts on official community plan

Sooke OCP review to begin in June with legal, municipal staff and community consultations

Coun. Kevin Pearson wants Sooke residents to start thinking about the community’s future.

Beginning in June, the District of Sooke will start a review of the official community plan and Pearson is hoping residents will think about what is in it, what should be in it and how it should be presented.

An official community plan, or OCP, is a municipal bylaw that defines policies for land use and development. The document must be reviewed and updated every five years.

“I really want to look at it from a holistic point of view. What does the community want and lets have input from the people who are living, working and playing in our community?” Pearson said.

“What do they see for their long-term vision, and how do we translate it into words that can be effective, not only for the politicians and the bureaucrats, but for people who pick up the document?”

One of the problems with the current OCP is that it written in a technical form, and needs to be put in simple terms so that it is clear for everyone, Pearson said.

“If I look at [the OCP] and you look at it and you want to use it pro and I want to use it con, I can use the same document, and I don’t think that’s doing us a favour in the District of Sooke,” he said.

Mayor Maja Tait agrees the OCP is wordy, inconsistent and at times contradictory.

“It needs to be refreshed and brought up to speed again,” she said.

The OCP review will begin June with legal, municipal staff and community consultations. The review is expected to be completed by year’s end.

Tait is not sure yet what form the community consultation will take yet. There could be a town hall meeting or smaller meetings in the community.

One thing is for sure: there won’t be a full committee to look at the document as was done in 2009.

“It was a lengthy process and we can build from what’s in place now as opposed to a full committee,” she said.

As for Pearson, he hopes the public will “create an embryo of ideas.”

“The best ideas come when people have the opportunity to think in advance, so often we do these kind of things on the fly.”