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Courtenay folding Regional Growth Strategy directives into Official Community Plan

The Comox Valley Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) is on its way to officially becoming part of the City of Courtenay's Official Community Plan (OCP).

This week, Courtenay council voted in favour of amending the City's OCP to include a Regional Context Statement consistent with the RGS. The RGS was adopted at the Comox Valley Regional District in March, and is designed to provide a direction for the entire CVRD around planning, conservation, water and energy resources and the area's economy.

First and second readings to amend Courtenay's OCP were passed and a public hearing is scheduled for Jan. 14 at 5 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall (830 Cliffe Ave.).

"There's eight goals, eight directions in the Regional Context Statement, and it's identifying these, how they meet our Official Community Plan, so how our Official Community Plan aligns with them," City director of development services Peter Crawford told council, adding the changes to the OCP are "very minor in nature" and centre around its growth management section.

The eight goals of the Regional Context Statement are:

Housing — Ensure a diversity of housing options to meet evolving demographics and needs.

Ecosystems, Natural Areas and Parks — Protect, steward and enhance the natural environment and ecological connections and systems.

Local Economic Development — Achieve a sustainable, resilient and dynamic local economy that supports Comox Valley businesses and the region's entrepreneurial spirit.

Transportation — Develop an accessible, efficient and affordable multi-modal transportation network, that connects Core Settlement Areas and designated Town Centres, and links the Comox Valley to neighbouring communities and regions.

Infrastructure — Provide affordable, effective and efficient services and infrastructure that conserves land, water and energy resources.

Food Systems — Support a high quality of life through the protection and enhancement of community health, safety and well-being.

Climate Change — Minimize regional greenhouse gas emissions and plan for adaptation.

Although Crawford noted each municipality within the CVRD must update its OCP to ensure it's aligned with the RGS within two years of the RGS adoption, developing and adopting an Implementation Agreement is a "discretionary item."

"It is considered that entering into an implementation agreement would be an unnecessary expense to the City and it would be redundant to existing practices of the City," Crawford wrote in his report to council.

He added very few municipalities choose to enter into these agreements.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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