CVRD planning seems too focused on climate change
I received a card announcing the open houses for OCP development. On the front it says: “How will we adapt to more extreme weather? Join the conversation about our future”, and it shows a photo of parched soil.
I don’t know what the planning department has in mind for these events but it would appear to be entirely focused on climate change. Turning over the card, I see “population growth, an evolving economy and a changing climate…that our region will face”.
I am uncertain if the board feels that community planning needs to have climate change at its centre, but it appears that way. If so, I would not expect such discussions to add any value to community planning where density, land use, transportation (roads) and other services need to be the leading parts of the discussion.
There is a risk that this focus might lead to an OCP that is packed with environmental motherhood and feel-better policies that have absolutely no emissions business case or measurable environmental value. The outcome may be that they dissuade development and population growth, and make the local economy even worse — and worse, create even more barriers for development and make development processes longer that they are already.
The realistic starting place is where can we increase density in a manner well suited to the location and also support the higher density with services. Are our town centre plans realistic and well formed? (Shawnigan Lake’s is not.) Further, where will we continue to protect our rural communities and keep their value for our residents that desire them? This should really be about neighbourhood plans, not climate change adaptation.
If this is the board agenda then I do not know what else to say. If it is a One Cowichan agenda then you need to stop it. If this is the staff agenda and you do not agree with it, then you should reel it in before staff take it too far. Regardless, it smells of agenda for which you need to be responsible and accountable. If you are not directing the actions of staff effectively through your CAO, then you need to fix this as well.
If you really want people to come out and participate in community planning then the advertisement should be for this purpose and not be so misleading and ridiculously off topic.
Also, did the board decide that there must be one consolidated OCP or is this a staff agenda? Good luck with uniformity across the region. Overall, staff would benefit by learning and using Agile (https://hbr.org/2016/05/embracing-agile) business development methodologies and make the whole organization smaller and more Agile, and stop these huge programs with seemingly baked-in (political) agendas.
Who is really in charge at the CVRD?