District of North Van to embark on OCP review

District of North Vancouver council is about to blow the dust off its 2011 official community plan.

Council is scheduled to vote on May 27 to kick off a “targeted review” of the municipality’s high-level planning document.

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Council members met as a committee May 13 to help set the scope, timeline and budget for the OCP review.

Rather than start from scratch, the review will not tinker with the overall goals of the original plan, but rather it will focus on how to better implement policies in light of “new and external pressures since 2011 as well as emerging priorities,” said Brian Bydwell, the district’s consultant on the review and a former general manager or the municipality.

Over the next year, the public, stakeholders, experts and council will create four white papers related to housing, transportation, climate change and the economy/employment lands.

During the 2018 election, many of those elected to council campaigned on slowing residential development, which flows from the OCP.

“While there has been some progress in diversifying housing type, there’s work to be done with respect to tenure and affordability,” Bydwell said, noting the review should focus on supplying affordable and secure units with a particular emphasis on social housing for people on low to moderate incomes or in need of supportive housing.

The transportation white paper will focus on viable alternatives to the car, Bydwell said, and will be informed by the Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project.

The district already has a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which the climate change white paper should help address.

“There is broad consensus that transformative action is required to mitigate and to adapt to the challenges of climate change,” Bydwell said, adding that will likely mean reducing energy consumption, eliminating the use of non-renewable energy, and transitioning to zero-emission buildings and vehicles.

The current OCP already encourages the “protection, intensification and diversification” of employment lands, but the economic white paper should produce strategies to deal with escalating property assessments and displacement of small independent business, Bydwell said.

Beyond the four white papers, the OCP review should also produce an action plan for council to follow.

“Realistically, there’s 12 to 14 months of work here,” Bydwell said.

The proposed budget is $360,000 to $395,000, most of which would be spent on consultants and technical experts as well as public engagement.

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