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Official Community Plan Update

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Thank you for your feedback on the Draft OCP!

The first draft of Sidney’s updated OCP was available for public review from March 3 to April 11. Many community members took the time to help shape Sidney's future. 

On May 5, Council considered this feedback, as well as input from community groups, the Advisory Planning Committee, and the Official Community Plan Review Advisory Committee. Council requested several changes to the draft OCP which are now underway.

Some of the key areas of change include:

  • Expansion of Environmentally Sensitive Areas along Sidney’s shoreline;
  • Fewer areas proposed to transition from Neighbourhood Residential to Multi-Unit Residential;
  • More policy to ensure that newly designated Multi-Unit Residential areas permit lower density townhome style development, as opposed to larger 3 or 4 storey apartment style buildings;
  • Removal of new Neighbourhood Commercial Policy Areas proposed for Bowerbank Road, Resthaven Drive, and Weiler Avenue;
  • More policy to ensure that the property at the intersection of Harbour Road and Bowden Road serves as a buffer between industrial and residential areas, supporting marine-related commercial and residential but not industrial activity;
  • Removal of proposal to daylight Mermaid Creek between Malaview Avenue and Amelia Avenue within the corridor between Fifth Street and Resthaven Drive. The Multi-Unit Residential designation that would have incentivized this work will also be removed.

Staff are working to prepare a revised draft OCP that will be presented to Council in late-May or early-June and made available to the public.

Before Council adopts the final OCP, the public will be invited to participate in the bylaw adoption process, which includes a public hearing.

Project Overview

One of Council's primary strategic priorities for this term is a review and update of the Town of Sidney's Official Community Plan (OCP). An OCP is a Town bylaw that sets out the broad objectives and policies that guide decisions on planning, land use and provision of municipal services in the community. It also establishes a degree of certainty about the location and nature of community change to residents and landowners while providing a framework for guiding and managing future development and growth. The process to update Sidney’s OCP is expected to take approximately two years, spanning 2020 and 2021.

Want to find out more about the project?

Listen to Corey Newcomb, the Town's Senior Manager of Long Range Planning, on Radio Sidney's Peninsula Affairs show, discussing the project and how the community can get involved. Click here to listen to the recording.

The Town welcomes direct feedback from residents, business owners and other interested parties. Please email us at ocp@sidney.ca or call 250-655-5428 with ideas, concerns or questions regarding the development of Sidney's new OCP.
  There will be many opportunities for Sidney residents and business owners to get involved and contribute their ideas and opinions – watch this space and subscribe to email updates to get the latest information on project events.

Project Updates

March – April 2022

  • The draft OCP was released for public feedback for a six week period from March 3rd to April 11th.
  • The OCP Review Advisory Committee and the Advisory Planning Commission reviewed the draft OCP and provided feedback.

January – February 2022

  • Drafting of the first draft of the OCP document continued through January and February.
  • The first draft of the OCP was presented to Council on February 28th.

November – December 2021

  • The Key Directions Report and feedback from the public was considered by the OCP Review Advisory Committee on November 4th (see link to meeting minutes in sidebar).
  • Early stage drafting the final OCP document continued through November and December.
  • Staff prepared a report for the December 13th Council meeting regarding the anticipated final stages of the project. This included an overview of the remaining work and required legislative steps as the project concludes.

September - October 2021

  • The Town’s Advisory Planning Commission also reviewed the Key Directions Report during two meetings and provided detailed feedback.
  • The staff and consulting team began Phase 3 of the project – drafting the plan
  • The Key Directions Report was released for public review and input. The report summarizes public feedback to date and highlights general policy direction on issues that were often raised during the community engagement process.

July - August 2021

  • The Town hosted an Economic Development Workshop with local business owners and industry representatives.
  • Sidney planning staff participated in discussions with Panorama Recreation Commission, BC Transit and neighbouring municipalities to coordinate emerging OCP policy with work being undertaken by these partner organizations.
  • The project team worked to finalize the Key Directions Report.

May - June 2021

  • Community engagement activities continued with the “OCPizza Night” workbook, which was distributed to every household in Sidney and posed a number of questions for residents to consider with their families, friends and neighbours over a slice of pizza. Those who submitted completed workbooks were eligible for a gift card from a local restaurant.
  • The Mayors and staff from Sidney, North Saanich and Central Saanich hosted an “Indigenous Peoples Forum” with First Nations residents of the Saanich Peninsula to discuss the OCP project and future opportunities for reconciliation and collaboration.
  • The project team held a number of workshops with the business community, students from Parkland High School, childcare providers and other community organizations to discuss issues specific to these groups.

March - April 2021

  • Community members were invited to fill out the “Community Design Survey” which asked a number of questions based on the outcomes of the Virtual Design Charrette held in February. Feedback for the survey was very strong, with triple the response goal for this part of the project. The results of the survey will be included in the Phase 2 summary report – the “Key Directions Report” – coming in the summer.
  • Planning staff from Sidney, the District of North Saanich and the District of Central Saanich met with the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council to discuss a First Nations’ perspective on the future of the Saanich Peninsula and how the OCPs can incorporate a reconciliation approach into our planning processes.
  • Planning staff continued to engage with community members on the project, meeting with various community groups and strata councils regarding the project.

January - February 2021

  • The Town hosted a “Virtual Design Charrette” with about 50 community members and stakeholder groups to discuss opportunities and design approaches for a number of topic areas. The outcomes of this event will help to inform a number of policy areas in the new Official Community Plan.
  • The OCP Review Advisory Committee met to receive a project update from the Planning Department and provide feedback for next steps.

November - December 2020

  • Due to the ongoing pandemic, some community engagement activities, including the land use options and design charrette that were scheduled for November and December were postponed to 2021. Stay tuned for more news on how to get involved in the project.
  • Collaboration with staff from the Districts of North and Central Saanich continued, in order to ensure a high degree of coordination during our respective OCP update processes.

October 2020

  • The Background Report for the project was finalized, with input from Council, the OCP Review Advisory Committee and the Advisory Planning Commission. This document provides a basis for future discussions and policy development as the project proceeds.
  • Community engagement continued on the OCP Ideas Forum and via discussions with stakeholders in the community. The Town also partnered with the District of Central Saanich and North Saanich on opening discussions with peninsula First Nations communities.
  • The Town applied for an active transportation grant which will allow for more robust policy development in this specific area of the OCP.
  • Phase 1 (Background Review) of the project wrapped up with a presentation to Council on October 19th.

September 2020

  • Planning staff and members of the OCP advisory committee hit Beacon Avenue in early September to connect with the public and raise awareness of the project and the project launch open house.
  • The public project launch open house was held at the Mary Winspear Centre on September 26th as well as virtually online. This event was intended to gather initial feedback on the community’s priorities for the project and help guide future work. Combined, the in-person event and the online version more than doubled the attendance target of 100 people, so thank you to everyone who participated!

July - August 2020

  • The project consultant conducted a series of initial stakeholder interviews with various community organizations and representatives. Together with early community engagement feedback, these interviews will help set the broad directions for the project and inform future detailed planning work.
  • At their regular meeting on August 17th, Council considered some potential areas of collaboration with Sidney’s neighbouring municipalities of North Saanich and Central Saanich, who are also undertaking their own Official Community Plan Review projects. Additional information can be found in a staff report on the subject.
  • The OCP Review Advisory Committee reviewed the draft project Work Plan and Community Engagement Plan at their July 6, 2020 meeting and recommended approval of the documents, with the addition of several community engagement tasks. Council gave final approval for these changes and the documents at the regular Council meeting on July 20, 2020.
  • Work began on the Background and Recommendations report, which provide a high level assessment of the current OCP and issues to address during the review.
  • Preparations began for the public launch of the project in September.

June 2020

  • Council considered the draft project Work Plan and Community Engagement Plan at the June 22, 2020 Council meeting. These documents will form the basis for the work to follow over the next 18 months. Council also referred these documents to the OCP Review Advisory Committee for their review and feedback.
  • The OCP Review Advisory Committee met for a second time on June 18, 2020. This meeting introduced committee members to some of the more technical aspects of the Town’s OCP and provided an overview of how the OCP is used in practice and how it integrates with other Town bylaws. See the right-hand column for a link to the committee's minutes and a video of the meeting.
  • Background document review, policy review and data gathering and analysis work has begun.

May 2020

  • Project introduction letters were sent to stakeholder organizations, local governments, First Nations, and relevant provincial and federal ministries regarding the Town’s intention of undertaking the project, and asking for the participation of these organizations in the engagement process.
  • Council considered a staff report regarding letters to be sent to Sidney and Saanich Peninsula community organizations, inviting them to participate in the project.
  • The OCP Review Advisory Committee held its first meeting. Visit the OCP Review Advisory Committee page for more information on the committee's meetings.

April 2020

  • A Project Update, including a short discussion on the potential implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the project, was included in the Spring 2020 issue of Town Talk.
  • Town staff held initial meetings with the consultant team to discuss and confirm the scope, timing and other details of the project.

March 2020

  • Council considered a staff report on the results of the Town’s RFP process and selected Modus Planning Design and Engagement Ltd. as the primary project consultant for the project. Council requested that staff bring more detail forward in June regarding the cost of potential extra community engagement initiatives for further consideration.

January 2020

  • Town issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the project.
  • As one of the initial steps in the OCP Review process, Council established an OCP Review Advisory Committee, which will provide general guidance and advice to the Town during the project. The Committee is comprised of the Mayor, Councilor Wainwright and 7 members of the public and will assist in the project by:
    • Considering new policy directions;
    • Reviewing draft sections of the plan;
    • Acting as informal ambassadors with the public by encouraging community participation and engagement with the project;
    • Providing input into the final version of the OCP document.

December 2019

  • Council considered an approach report prepared by staff which provides an overview of the proposed approach to the OCP Review project, its objectives, and process.

February – November 2019

  • The Town completed its Housing Needs Assessment (HNA) prior to initiating the OCP Review. Provincial legislation requires municipalities to undertake a HNA before completing an OCP update.

January 2019

  • Staff prepared an OCP Review Memorandum for Council’s consideration. This Memorandum provided an overview of the legislative requirements for OCPs, potential Town objectives, and an early discussion on project scope. Based on this memorandum, Council elected to undertake a “comprehensive” review and update of the Town’s OCP.


OCP Review Advisory Committee

For information about the OCP Review Advisory Committee, including meeting agendas and minutes, visit the OCP Review Advisory Committee page.