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Sooke seeks more input on community plan

Council hopes to address gaps in planning document

The District of Sooke is hitting the review button on its official community plan to cover off any gaps in the 240-page document.

Often called an OCP, an official community plan sets guidelines, policies and expectations for community development.

The district announced earlier this month that the community plan would be reviewed at a committee of the whole meeting in June. The plan results from close to three years of conversations, observations, research and writing.

“It seems like we’re close. Everyone is seemingly OK with the vision and the larger, bigger picture. It’s more the delivery now,” said Mayor Maja Tait.

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The review comes after informal conversations with residents, community leaders and groups across the district.

Council is urging anyone concerned about the plan, including developers and builders, to attend the meeting.

“Builders and developers felt they weren’t heard in earlier meetings. I don’t want anyone to go away and feel that they haven’t been heard,” said Coun. Al Beddows, council’s representative on the now-defunct community plan committee.

Beddows said the development community has concerns about new development permit area requirements but has offered few solutions to the impasse.

It is also possible that the provincial government’s recently released Homes for People plan could impact the community plan.

Broadly, the plan includes adding density in areas currently zoned single-residential and near transit, legalizing secondary suites coupled with financial incentives for home-owners who build such suites, expanding the existing speculation and vacancy tax to other areas and creating a tax designed to discourage the flipping of properties.

“We need to get more into the specifics from both the province and builders,” Tait said.

Beddows and Tait would like to see the community plan adopted by the end of the year.

The new community plan would replace one adopted in 2008. The provincial Community Charter recommends a new OCP every 10 years.

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Kevin Laird

About the Author: Kevin Laird

It's my passion to contribute to the well-being of the community by connecting people through the power of reliable news and storytelling.
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