OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PLAN
One of the issues in the election is turning out to be the Official Community Plan( OCP ). Unfortunately, there is a huge misunderstanding on the part of some people just what the OCP is, and what its purpose is.
The Local Government Act states an OCP "is a statement of objectives and policies on planning and land use..."
A local government MAY adopt one or more OCP's. The OCP is a guideline, and must include the approximate location, amount, type , and density of residential development to meet anticipated housing needs over a period of at least 5 years as well as the approximate location, amount and type of proposed commercial development land uses.
In our case, the OCP needs some tweaking, but not a wholesale rewrite.
The area that has to be given priority is the Everall Neighbourhood, which is defined as the area north of Thrift between Martin and Oxford. This area is replete with 1970's era wood frame apartment buildings. A significant number of these buildings are owned by single entity owners and are all rentals. This makes them likely candidates for speculators to buy, in the hopes of being able to redevelop them as condos. The speculation is fueled by the recent "spot" OCP and rezoning to allow the Cressey 12 storey project on Vidal, and further exacerbated by the proposal that has been received for the EPCOR site on Oxford. The latter has been put on hold because of the need to undertake a comprehensive OCP review before we even consider it.
No more "spot" OCP amendments!
So , this upcoming OCP review of the Everall Neighbourhood has already been given to staff, and is now awaiting the election to conclude before it gets underway. Some things to consider through the process include: how many people do we want to be in the neighbourhood; what density do we want to see; what height of building do you want to see; how are we going to deal with the displacement of the rental housing stock that could result; and how are we going to preserve the trees that are there?
A final word on Monster Homes .
This is a phenomenon that has to be dealt with by an amendment to the Zoning Bylaws. However, the amendment has to be done with substantial thought and balance. It is not enough to simply say, no more large houses. To do so would devalue peoples' properties unnecessarily. Since generally, our homes are our largest single investment , a knee-jerk amendment could cost people tens, if not hundreds of thousands in terms of value. It is an amendment that has to be handled sensitively and collaboratively - more like a surgeon's scalpel than a sledge hammer. This is work that has to be started immediately