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Feb. 28 eyed for public presentation of Sidney’s new OCP draft

Current plans call for public engagement through March and adoption by early June 2022
Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith recently stressed the importance of the Official Community Plan review. Staff plan to a draft version on Feb. 28, 2022. (Photo courtesy of the Town of Sidney).

Sidney residents could get their first formal look at the draft of Sidney’s new Official Community Plan (OCP) on Feb. 28, 2022.

Corey Newcomb, Sidney’s senior manager of long-range planning, said earlier in December that staff plan to present the draft version of the new OCP to council on that date. Sidney could have a new OCP spelling out future land use by early June 2022 under what staff described as a tentative but aggressive time line following public engagement scheduled for all of March, revisions scheduled for April and the adoption process scheduled for May.

Council formally approved this time line during its Dec. 20 regular meeting following its committee-of-the-whole meeting on Dec. 6.

Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith stressed the importance of the project during that meeting.

“As Coun. (Chad) Rintoul alluded to, this is this council’s number one priority this term,” he said.

But if council’s endorsement of the timetable was unanimous, the public also heard from members that the OCP timetable may run up against other pressing files, including 2022 budget discussions.

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Coun. Scott Garnett offered perhaps the most blunt assessment, when he noted that the target date of Feb. 28 comes one week after the third and final scheduled budget meeting on Feb. 21 following meetings on Jan. 24 and Feb. 7.

Garnett said he anticipates challenging budget discussions and council might not have completed deliberations by Feb. 21.

Staff plan to present the draft OCP to the public for feedback during March.

Proposed elements of this engagement process include one, possibly more open houses. Staff said this event would ideally be a virtual as well as an in-person event at the Mary Winspear Centre.

Other elements include an online survey as well as a hyper-linked, searchable version of the document, said Newcomb.

Sidney’s Advisory Planning Commission (APC) and Official Community Plan (OCP) Review Advisory Committee would also receive presentations.

Staff will also continue to consult with a long list of individuals and neighbouring jurisdictions, including North Saanich, Central Saanich, Tseycum, Tsartlip, Tsawout and Pauquachin First Nations, School District No. 63 (Saanich) and the Victoria Airport Authority.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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