After five years of consulting and planning, the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area’s East Sooke and Shirley-Jordan River official community plans are at the finish line.
The Capital Regional District board gave final approval July 11 to the OCPs. The electoral area launched the OCP updates in 2013.
“The significance of this is that each area in the Juan de Fuca now has an updated OCP. They were made by the people for the people of each area,” said Mike Hicks, the director for the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, which includes the unincorporated areas of East Sooke, Malahat, Willis Point and the coastal strip from Otter Point to Port Renfrew.
Each OCP cost $150,000 to complete, which doesn’t include CRD staff time.
A municipal planning document, the OCP sets the course for development in the community and enshrines local values cultivated through extensive consultation with the public, First Nations and other stakeholders.
The updated documents contains several sections that reflect on the current realities of the Juan de Fuca areas and consider the work done by municipal committees.
A notable addition for East Sooke is the minimum lot size reduced to one hectare from four. Other small changes are in both OCPs.
The years of delay in the OCPs was due to the CRD board’s reluctance to ratify the regional growth strategy, which deals with issues such as transportation, environment, urban sprawl and farmland protection.
Most unsettling in the electoral area was the CRD’s reluctance not to allow piped water that could encourage urban sprawl.
A mediated solution was achieved earlier this year to approve criteria and processes to allow for expansion of municipal waters into the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area.
“The RGS forbid the extension water anywhere in the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area – that was the big hold up,” Hicks said. “Once the RGS was amended, then everything fell into place.”