Council took several steps Monday toward the final consultation stages and approval of Sooke’s official community plan (OCP).
District council will give first reading on April 11 to the 237-page document that will guide community growth for the next 10 years while protecting the environment, preparing for climate change, and clarifying land use.
And while councillors agreed to take the document to the first reading, some councillors still want more public comment. So far, the district has received 2,000 pieces of public response – most through an online format – and an open house is planned for May.
Councillors dealt with three major concerns centred around the OCP:
• The plan will retain a 15-metre foreshore setback from a proposed 30 metres.
• The West Ridge Trail land use designation of rural residential is replaced with community residential. The developers followed district guidelines with road and infrastructure, and the rural residential designation could stop further residential house construction.
• Whiffin Spit land use designation of community residential be replaced with rural residential and include a neighbourhood area plan, similar to Kaltasin.
“We need to get to the first reading, which will allow staff to get the regulatory items done, and we can still have the open house,” said Coun. Al Beddows, who is council’s representative on the OCP committee.
Coun. Megan McMath had concerns about pushing the OCP forward before allowing for the open house. She said there still may be some concerns from other residents about the OCP that haven’t been heard.
“We made a decision for public input in an old-fashioned forum where (residents) can come and speak with us and get more fulsome understanding,” she said.
Coun. Ebony Logins said that forwarding the draft OCP to first reading will allow for more community consultation and flexibility to make changes before final adoption this summer.
Once council takes the OCP to first reading, it then goes to the Capital Regional District for further review, which could take at least another month, before returning to Sooke councillors for final debate and approval.
“The goal is to finish the OCP in our term,” Beddows said.