Squamish residents invited to share their vision for the future of the community as #Squamish2040 project kicks off

REVISED OCP logo4

What is the future we want, what is an Official Community Plan, and how do those two things relate? Those are the key questions the District of Squamish aims to answer in the coming weeks with the input of every resident, business owner, and community group.

The Official Community Plan is being updated in 2016 and a variety of creative engagement opportunities are being planned to solicit and encourage extensive community input to help shape the future of Squamish. The update process, branded as #Squamish2040, kicks off in January.

The Official Community Plan (commonly referred to as an OCP) establishes the vision, objectives, goals and priorities for how Squamish will grow and evolve looking forward to 2040. It sets out a clear community vision today, in order to shape Squamish’s future in a way that is healthy and sustainable and provides a high quality of life for current and future residents. While the OCP is a high-level document, it will include specific tools and policies to determine how the community should consider new development proposals and guide Council decisions. It is also the foundational document from which all other policies and plans flow, therefore a clearly articulated vision in the OCP will set the stage for all other District work.

There has been a significant shift in our reality since the last OCP was adopted in 2010 – with growth and development, a major swing in our demographics, climate change and the environment, changes in economic realities, and the fascinating effects of becoming an increasingly digitized society,” says Mayor Patricia Heintzman. “Diverse community input will ensure that this is a ‘made in Squamish’ plan that reflects the opportunities and challenges facing us today and for the next 25 years. I urge everyone to get involved and be a part of this process and our future.”

What kind of questions will the OCP answer?

The updated OCP will guide future planning decisions such as:

  • Where should new development go and what form will it take?
  • How can we create more local jobs in growth sectors that are relevant for the future and our demographic shift?
  • How can we conserve natural areas as growth and development occur?
  • How can we create a built environment (roads, parks, trails, gathering areas) that meets the community’s aspirations and values in our neighbourhoods?
  • What types of housing do existing and future residents need, and how can we encourage more affordable housing?
  • How can we support nature-based tourism while protecting environmental values?
  • How can we create a healthy and active community that is safe, convenient, and accessible for people of all ages and abilities? 

And many more.

How to get involved

The project web page at squamish.ca/OCP provides an outline of the 12-month update process, frequently asked questions, and an opportunity to sign up for project updates to be informed about upcoming events and activities.

A Citizen Advisory Committee comprised of nine community members and two members of Council is in place to provide resident oversight of the process. The volunteer committee provides insight on the engagement process, ensures that any policy development reflects what was heard from the public, and acts as an overall sounding board for the engagement process.

The process will launch in January with a questionnaire and #Squamish2040 ‘ambassadors’ who will use tablets to seek public input at highly frequented locations around town. A public visioning event will take place Thursday, January 28 at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park, providing a fun, interactive drop-in event from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

To encourage community participation and offer thanks to those who participate, a Sea to Sky Gondola Annual Family Pass will be offered as a grand prize. Each time an individual provides input to the process (by attending events, or completing questionnaires etc.), they will be given an opportunity to enter the draw for the Family Pass valued at $450. The draw will take place at the conclusion of the OCP Review process, anticipated to be in late 2016.

Stay tuned for much more information in January. And in the meantime, sign up for updates and learn more at squamish.ca/OCP

December 03, 2015

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