Town council likes the Official Community Plan’s latest draft.
During council’s Tuesday, September 20, regular meeting of council, mayor and council anonymously gave first and second reading to the plan’s bylaw.
“Before you is the Town of Lake Cowichan’s Official Community Plan, up to 2035,” councillor Franklin Hornbrook said, introducing the item to mayor and council.
Hornbrook is the town’s current liaison with the Advisory Planning Commission, which has been putting together the Official Community Plan for over 10 years; a document that provides the town’s elected officials with guidance with regard to to the town’s future vision.
“There was a phenomenal amount of work on it. A lot of people did a lot of work, and this is the result,” Hornbrook said.
The document, at over 100 pages, outlines future goals with regard to housing, zoning, climate protection, and various other areas of interest.
Town chief administrative officer Joseph Fernandez provided mayor and council with further background on the document. Work on the current draft began immediately after the last draft was passed by council, January of 1999.
“Work began right after that, but it started in ernest in 2006, when Chris Rolls was made chair,” he said.
The commission was filled out by Hazel Beech, Rita Dustow, Pat Weaver, and Janeen Bakewell. In February of this year, a new commission was selected; mainly the same, only Bakewell was replaced by Les Bowd.
Beech and Weaver should be credited with the history section of the plan, Fernandez said, as the two history buffs managed to squeeze over a hundred years’ worth of history into a precise and short write-up.
Councillors Hornbrook and Bob Day should also be noted, he said, as they both sat on the commission as council liaisons at different times; Hornbrook more recently. Although they didn’t have votes, they had their own vocal input into decisions.
Another notable individual is town planner James van Hemert.
“James van Hemert brought all the parts together, and now we have this wonderful document,” Fernandez said.
While van Hemert also did not have a vote, he provided his professional input, as well as his technical know-how of how a proper Official Community Plan is put together.
The planner has recently taken a job in Nanaimo, though the possibility exists that he may still work in town, in some capacity. Prior to van Hemert, Fernandez worked as the town planner.
Perusing the document, mayor and council unanimously thanked the commission and those involved in the plan for creating the document.
“They’ve provided us with a great deal to work with,” mayor Ross Forrest said. “It’s going to make our job as councillors more simplified in our decisions.”
“They put their heart and souls into this,” councillor Tim McGonigle said. “I’m sure there were some heated discussions.”
The Advisory Planning Commission will meet in the very near future to discuss the Official Community Plan one last time, before it is taken to a public hearing, Tuesday, October 26, at 6 p.m. at the Municipal Hall before the town’s potential adoption of the plan.
The most recent draft of the Official Community Plan is available online, at www.town.lakecowichan.bc.ca.
To find the document, scroll over the “News” tab at the top, and then click on “Draft Official Community Plan.”