Official Community Plan Review

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About the Official Community Plan (OCP)

Over the past eleven months, there have been a variety of opportunities for the public to provide input into the first phases of updating the Official Community Plan (OCP). Hundreds of North Saanich residents have participated through online surveys, workshops, and meetings, providing valuable input about how the community might change over the next 20 years.

On July 12 Council adapted the OCP process to respond to public feedback and paused further public engagement until after a facilitated workshop could occur in September.

On September 22 Council participated in a Special Meeting of Council (OCP Workshop), and directed staff to return in November with a revised schedule, budget and detailed plan for further engagement with the public. Watch the meeting here: https://northsaanich.civicweb.net/document/69851?splitscreen=true&media=true

Subscribe for project updates (see "Stay Informed" on the right) or check back for more details.

About the Official Community Plan (OCP)

Over the past eleven months, there have been a variety of opportunities for the public to provide input into the first phases of updating the Official Community Plan (OCP). Hundreds of North Saanich residents have participated through online surveys, workshops, and meetings, providing valuable input about how the community might change over the next 20 years.

On July 12 Council adapted the OCP process to respond to public feedback and paused further public engagement until after a facilitated workshop could occur in September.

On September 22 Council participated in a Special Meeting of Council (OCP Workshop), and directed staff to return in November with a revised schedule, budget and detailed plan for further engagement with the public. Watch the meeting here: https://northsaanich.civicweb.net/document/69851?splitscreen=true&media=true

Subscribe for project updates (see "Stay Informed" on the right) or check back for more details.

What questions do you have about this project?

You may have questions about what is included in an Official Community Plan. You may have questions about how a Official Community Plan is reviewed. You may even have questions about how your input will be used! If you have a question, feel free to ask it here. Our staff will respond to your questions as soon as possible.  

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    Thank you for clarifying my question about Queen Mary's Bay Neighbourhood Nook being for a cafe or serving shop. I presume this would be similar to the Fickle Fig on Mills Road. A further question about Queen Mary's Bay.... I thought it was listed as "Special Development" and zoned for residential (24 acres = 40+ lots), so is it still on the table that this could be parkland and boat launch with this Neighbourhood Nook instead? I am in total disagreement with more density aka residential lots on this land.

    Valerie Edwards asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for your follow-up question. The current OCP outlines the justification for Queen Mary Bay as a special development area and includes policy statements and planning principles (Section 13.5). As part of the OCP review we will look at the special development areas and consider whether the policies still align with the community's vision. Please subscribe for project updates to stay informed.

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    What is meant by a neighbourhood hub at Queen Mary Bay please?

    VE asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for your question. The purpose of the neighbourhood nook concept is to allow a neighbourhood serving shop or café use within a walking distance of residential areas. These locations were selected based on their proximity to existing or planned bike routes, bus routes, and as a gathering place for residents. 

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    As a resident of NS I wrote a letter to the district regarding the intersection of Wain Road and West Saanich. I continue to believe that this location is in dire need of a four way stop or a lighted intersection. There is no stop sign or lighted intersection from Brentwood Bay to Lands End. In my opinion this area is considered the township of North Saanich. With the firehall, gas station, corner store, church and a school all on the stretch of two blocks I would hope others would feel that the best way to ensure safety and traffic calming in a busy hub would be to address this intersection. My son rides his bike to school and has told me on many occasions how the thru traffic on West Saanich has neglected to stop for him to walk his bike across. It is not unusual for traffic to be backed up well down Wain Road on most days causing further frustration for drivers. The landscape of that corner also has a terrible blind corner where by a driver is one full car length past the stop sign in order to even see oncoming traffic speeding up West Saanich. The reply I was given by North Saanich stated that a traffic study would be done to determine the validity of a change. I have not seen any indication that this has been done to date. It was upsetting to see that this was not addressed at all in the current planning departments proposals. Clearly North Saanich is working towards satisfying the growth in the area and I would like to know the justification for not addressing this.

    Jen Dahl asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for your comments and question. This intersection is currently under review by District staff to determine if additional treatment is merited.  We rely on the Transportation Association of Canada guidelines in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices which is used across Canada as a reference for roadway treatments.  For the intersection at Wain Road and West Saanich Road we are most interested in the overall volume, volume split between legs, pedestrian count and speed.  We typically use collected data for rational to augment roadway treatment.  Staff are planning on completing a warrant analysis late this year. 

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    The draft OCP calls for neighbourhood nooks, community hubs, and village nodes. Is there any consideration given to the increased traffic volume, parking, noise and disturbance in the affected communities? Surely, if a village was needed, it should be surrounding the Municipal Hall on an existing busy road, Mills Road.

    Joseph asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for your question. Building on what we've heard, the OCP Design Workshop resulted in the initial emerging concepts. Further technical analysis will take place in the Fall to analyze the limitations and/or implications of some of the concepts, this will lead to further refinements and additional engagement as we begin to draft the OCP. Please subscribe for project updates to stay informed.

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    Why are you proposing potential seniors' housing behind Panorama Rec? Originally a library was intended, but now this has turned into housing? This feels like a bait and switch for residents in the area, especially when this was deemed ALR land and now has an exclusion. It could set a dangerous precedent for other ALR land areas that could turn into housing.

    Concerned Resident asked 5 months ago

    Thank you for your comments and question. One of the emerging concepts that we are gathering initial feedback on is the McTavish Village Centre concept, that includes the Panorama site. Please join us at one of our June pop-up events to provide initial feedback on the emerging concepts. In-depth engagement on the emerging concepts will take place in Fall. Please subscribe for project updates to stay informed. 

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    Is there any plan to include the intersection of McTavish Rd and East Saanich . This area is prime for some sort of development and has been vacant since the old house burnt down, looks like about 4 acres for possible commercial with residential on top

    mbrady asked 5 months ago

    Thank you for your question. One of the emerging concepts that we are gathering initial feedback on is the McTavish Village Centre concept. Please join us at one of our June pop-up events to provide initial feedback on the emerging concepts. In-depth engagement on the emerging concepts will take place in Fall. Please subscribe for project updates to stay informed. 

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    As housing affordability decreases and demographic pressures change, Canada is seeing many more extended family dwellings, where e.g. the parents or adult children live in the same house as the homeowners. Many BC municipalities (including Saanich: https://www.saanich.ca/assets/Local~Government/Documents/Inspections/RoomsforFamilyMembers.pdf) already accept this, and allow extended family members to occupy the same home with their own separate cooking area, without having to renovate the house to meet Legal Suite Code (e.g. separation of power, heating and water supplies). However, North Saanich remains out of step here, and with the way that housing affordability is trending, I expect this to become an increasing problem for both North Saanich residents and Bylaw Enforcement over the short term. My neighbors already have their adult children and grandkids living with them, and when my kids become adults I fully expect them to continue living in the family home because of the lack of affordable alternatives. If my kids can’t continue to live here with us, then they will probably have to leave the peninsula, which is another tax generating worker lost to a largely retired population. If we don’t make provisions to make it easier for family members to stay together in the same (often large!) home, then we risk ending up with a retirement community with nobody to provide labor, tax income or services to the community. However, I see no mention of this issue in the Housing Needs Report. Are any steps being taken to address extended family dwellings?

    Anthony Thompson asked 5 months ago

    Thank you for your comments and question. As part of the OCP review we are looking at opportunities to increase the mix of housing options to meet the needs of the community. This includes exploring different housing forms and tenure types, and responding to the needs of the community to support multi-generational housing and support the ability for seniors to age-in-place. Please subscribe for project updates and you will be notified of engagement opportunities throughout the review process.

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    Why is none of the southeast quadrant recognized as a High Wildfire Hazard in OCP Schedule 1? Quarry Park and the surrounding area are tinder dry in warmer months, with hazard signs posted by the municipality. With all the foot traffic in the park and it's dry rocky terraine, just one carelessly butted cigarette could cause a fire that could very easily spread to the highly treed properties bordering the park and beyond. Surely the wildfire hazard in that area is at least as high as some other areas designated as high risk, such as Curteis Point, north shore of Deep Cove toward Moses Point, Dickson to Willingdon, upper Dean Park Estates (Cordero, Sentinel, etc). The limited elevation change between Quarry Park and bordering properties is likely far less than between Dean Park and the wide swath below it that is recognized as a wildfire hazard area.

    Resident 4decades asked 5 months ago

    Thank you for your question. Schedule I - Wildfire Hazard Areas is part of the current OCP. The District is currently in the final stages of updating the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). This updated CWPP will be used to inform the OCP review. 

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    I applied to subdivide my .86-acre property on Aldous Terrace to create one more lot and one more single family dwelling and a rental suite. My application aligned with the current OCP, Zoning Bylaw, had the support of the Planning Department, the unanimous support of the Community Planning Commission, and 133 of my neighbors. Certain Council members stated that they were and had always been opposed to infill and they did not support my application. When I asked for clarification, I was told that the OCP was just a guide for decision making on land-use decisions and Council is in no way obligated or tied to follow the policies of the plan. I was told that Council has full discretion whether to approve or not approve a rezoning development application - even when an application is in full accordance with the OCP. This story begs the question - is the OCP actually a waste of time and tax payer dollars? Or worse, a façade to give the appearance of public participation? Obviously, certain council members don't respect the current OCP, so what guarantees do constituents have that they will set their personal views on infill aside and hold themselves accountable to respect the new OCP and the views of the constituents they were elected to represent?

    lori.pruce asked 8 months ago

    Thanks for your question. The Provincial legislation (Local Government Act) requires every municipality to have an up to date OCP in place.  The Local Government Act also states that an OCP  is a "statement of objectives and policies to guide decisions on planning and land use management".  The Official Community Plan (OCP) also provides guidance for decision-making on a range of issues including land use planning. Council will therefore use the OCP to help guide decision making while also considering a range of other factors. All new Bylaws must also be consistent with the OCP as well and therefore it is an important document for the District. 

    With respect to the engagement processes we would encourage you to review the Engagement Strategy and the more recently, the Council endorsed Phase 2 Engagement Plan. Engagement activities will include inviting key audiences at appropriate points including but not limited to Council and staff, First Nations, Council Commissions, technical experts, other government agencies, stakeholders and public input. 


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    The time line of the OCP review mentions "Community Conversations "in March. How can an interested community group get involved ? March is only 8 days away .Are there any guidelines ? How do "community conversations" happen ?? Is a summary of the "chat" conversations that happened during the 3 Webinars available, it could spark lively "community conversation"

    Barb Tolmie asked 8 months ago

    Thanks for your questions. We will provide a host guide for the community conversations which provides guidance on event planning, facilitation, documentation and submitting the work book. We are aiming to launch the workbooks in mid-March.

    Here are a few tips if you want to get started:

    • invite up to 8 people
    • select topics (approximately 25 minutes per topic): 2-3 hours for entire workbook
      • Agriculture & the Food Sector
      • Climate Change
      • Healthy Communities
      • Housing and Affordability
      • Jobs & the Local Economy
      • Natural Systems (land and marine)
    • review the Discussion Papers (Documents>Phase 2 Community Visioning and Exploration of Emerging Concepts)


    The Web Panel Discussion Key Themes Summary can be found under documents in the Phase 2 folder. The recordings of the web panels will be posted shortly.

    Please subscribe for project updates and you will be notified when we have launched the survey and the community conversations workbook


Page last updated: 19 October 2021, 16:33