Community Planning

Official Community Plans (OCPs) from Down Under and Next Door – Video

The Planners Institute of British Columbia (PIBC) held its annual conference last May in Kelowna BC. Environmental Planner, Rob van Iersal travelled all the way from Australia to join our own Dan Huang and City of Vernon Director of Community Development, Engineering and GIS, Kim Flick to discuss the differences in planning between our two countries. As described in the PIBC program, “This session compared the Australian and British Columbian strategic planning contexts to draw out lessons from how planning legislation and policy is structured, highlighting how we can start to make meaningful improvements.”

Here is a quick synopsis of each presentation and video from the session.

Part 1: Rob van Iersal – Environmental Planner, Byron Bay, Australia

Are OCPs the best vehicle for long range strategic planning? Rob tackles this question in his presentation. As a self described “outsider looking in”, Rob shares some interesting thoughts about OCPs in British Columbia. Framing his discussion is a comparison of BC’s legislative framework to that of New South Wales. He discusses Australian planning legislation and explores a few case studies. Of particular interest to Rob are the nuances in the language used in British Columbia versus Australian legislation. Rob offers an interesting outsider’s perspective on our regulations and legislations in relation to the OCP.

Part 2: Dan Huang – Senior Planner, Urban Systems Victoria

Dan jumps in for a local perspective and discusses the regulatory context at home in British Columbia as well as in some of the jurisdictions in nearby provinces. Dan begins by introducing British Columbia’s history around regional planning, and then takes us forward to look at the current context. He reviews the regulatory structure of our neighbours, Alberta and Saskatchewan, paying particular attention to their planning and Development Acts, delving into some of the particular reasoning behind them.

Part 3: Kim Flick – Director of Community Development, Engineering and GIS, City of Vernon

Kim shares some of the things she’s learned as a planner while in Vernon. She places particular focus on how to get meaningful traction with an OCP. She takes the view that the OCP is one piece of the planning puzzle, should be used as a vision document, and ultimately can be just what you make of it. Kim shares her creative ideas around creating documents that will help avoid urban sprawl and encourage redevelopment of the downtown core, using Vernon circa the year 2000 as a case study. She shares six lessons she’s learned in her career around developing community plans and provides valuable insights into how these plans can be meaningful, when approached with a “long game” vs. “short game” mentality.

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