Consultants handling the review of North Saanich’s Official Community Plan (OCP) are revising key documents following a workshop with North Saanich councillors that lasted in excess of seven hours.
Council scheduled the special meeting, held Sept. 22, with the consultants from MODUS as part of a response to public concerns about the substance and process of the review. Critics accused the review of lacking transparency and favouring development at the expense of North Saanich’s rural character.
Described by the municipality as a special workshop designed to “re-establish a shared understanding of the principles and foundations of the OCP” and give council direction on concepts presented earlier this year, the meeting ended with council asking the consultant to make a number of revisions to six emerging concepts.
These concepts, as presented in the spring, include sensitive infilling to supply for more diverse forms of housing (including housing for seniors to age in place), a community hub in the Deep Cove neighbourhood and the development of a village centre focused on the area around the McTavish and East Saanich roads intersection.
Council also asked the consultant to develop a detailed engagement plan engaging key stakeholders and the public with what the municipality calls a mix of in-person and online events.
The consultants, according to a release from the municipality, will also spend more time with an advisory group while continuing conversations with WSANEC communities, Sidney and Central Saanich.
Mayor Geoff Orr said the outcome of the workshop satisfied council because it provided what he called a “very good opportunity to discuss, in-depth, the varied and important components of the OCP review.”
Revisions to the emerging concepts plus additional details about the future schedule and budget of the OCP review are due back in November.
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