An Official Community Plan (OCP) sets out a long term strategy for the physical, economic and social development of an area. OCPs are adopted by the Board of Directors as a formal Bylaw applicable to an unincorporated Electoral Area.
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The primary purpose of an OCP is to ensure that new development takes place in an orderly and economically efficient manner and that the desired community characteristics and environmental qualities are protected. Plans are used by many individuals and groups who need to know how growth and change within the community may affect their interests. This may include existing homeowners and business as well as people who are thinking of moving to, or investing in, the community.
The Board of Directors also use these OCPs to guide many of their other policy direction or servicing decisions.
Official Community Plans are prepared in close consultation with interested individuals and businesses as well as with various other governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations that provide services within the community. This consultation typically occurs through open committee discussions, direct contact with concerned individuals, informal workshops, open houses and formal public hearings.
To become law OCPs must be approved by the Minister of Community, Aboriginal and Women's Services after ensuring that all of the Provincial interests in the area have been addressed. These Plans are the subject of a general review every five years.
However, individuals or businesses can make application to the Regional District to amend or fine tune certain aspects of the Plan in the intervening period. Such proposed amendments should be generally consistent with the overall goals or direction of the OCP and are the subject of careful scrutiny and public consultation before they can be approved.