Victoria Receives Award of Excellence for Official Community Plan

The City of Victoria's new Official Community Plan (OCP) has received the Gold Award for Excellence by the Planning Institute of British Columbia. Victoria is recognized in the policy planning category, which honours significant projects that enhance the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of communities, and demonstrate meaningful public consultation in policy development.

The City's current Official Community Plan was adopted by Council in 2012 after two and a half years of public consultation involving more than 6,000 people. The City's previous plan was last updated in 1995.

An Official Community Plan is a 30-year plan that provides direction for growth and change in the city. Council, staff, and citizens refer to the plan for guidance on decisions such as where to locate housing and businesses, transportation priorities, and how the community will respond to climate change.

Citizens representing neighbourhood associations, businesses, developers, service providers, First Nations, heritage, arts and culture groups, recreation services, and youth provided input during public consultation. Individuals participated through a citizen advisory committee, citizen insight councils, community forums and kitchen-table workshops. Staff attended neighbourhood markets, coffee shops, community centres, and schools in an effort to capture diverse thoughts and opinions.

Over the next 30 years, Victoria is expected to grow by approximately 20,000 new residents and create 10,000 new jobs. The OCP will guide growth and change in the years ahead, while preserving the special places and features that are unique and valued in the community.

Victoria's new OCP focuses on vibrant, walkable villages and town centres while maintaining the downtown core as the heart of the region. It introduces a new approach to land-use management by recognizing the unique neighbourhood character and sense of place of different parts of the city. The plan emphasizes sustainable transportation such as walking, cycling, and transit and reflects new provincial legislation requiring OCPs to include policies that address affordable housing and establish targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The award will be presented at the Planning Institute of BC Annual General Meeting in Vancouver on Monday, July 8.