North Cowichan overwhelmingly endorses new Official Community Plan
North Cowichan council on Wednesday voted 5-1 to approve a new Official Community Plan.
Councillors Rob Douglas, Christopher Justice, Rosalie Sawrie, Kate Marsh and Debra Toporowski supported the OCP.
Only Mayor Al Siebring opposed. Councillor Tek Manhas was absent.
Douglas, who is running for mayor Oct. 15 to replace the outgoing Siebring, said the OCP process has been extensive and inclusive extending over more than three years.
“When you add it all up, we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars…as well as thousands of hours of staff and volunteer time….”
He said: “There’s going to be growth and development here, no matter what. People want to come here to live in this beautiful place. We’ve been discovered.
“The OCP recognizes that and seeks to encourage future growth at a higher density in the cores of our existing communities while discouraging sprawl development, enabling the protection of many rural and natural lands, building more compact and walkable communities, encouraging more sustainable use of our infrastructure and providing opportunities for more affordable housing.”
Siebring said he believed citizens have been too preoccupied with covid the last few years to think about the OCP, and felt that the tone of the OCP “leans too far towards ideology rather than simple, boring best practice in planning for growth and development of our community.”
During Wednesday’s council meeting, opponents of the OCP seated in the public gallery frequently interrupted proceedings — as happened at a July 19 in-person public hearing when opponents suggested the OCP is part of a shadowy conspiracy linked to the United Nations and World Economic Forum.
At an on-line session one day earlier — on July 18 — residents overwhelmingly supported the OCP. https://bit.ly/3AlERc6
More on the OCP: www.northcowichan.ca/OCP .
(Photo: vehicle parked outside North Cowichan council meeting Wednesday.)
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— Larry Pynn, Aug. 17, 2022