Campbell River mayor wants to reopen official community plan

Plan was passed and adopted by council in February in spite of several objections from outside organizations and the community

The mayor wants to take another look at the city’s community plan despite the fact it was approved by city council nearly six months ago.

The Sustainable Official Community Plan was passed and adopted by council in February in spite of several objections from outside organizations and the community.

Now Mayor Walter Jakeway said he wants to review the document, which is supposed to set the community vision for the next 50 years and guide decisions surrounding new buildings and projects.

“I want to re-open the SOCP (Sustainable Official Community Plan) up this fall,” Jakeway said after council approved a development permit two weeks ago for Seymour Pacific that contained a clause that could be traced back to the plan.

Jakeway was unimpressed with a paragraph that gave the city’s general manger of operations the authority to approve the use of certain colours and materials. Under the city’s development permit guidelines in the community plan, it states that because of the city’s dark and cloudy West Coast climate, a warm colour palette is encouraged over the use of cool colours.

Jakeway said that’s dictating too much and there’s several things in the community plan he disagrees with.

“I have 19 things written down that are wrong with the SOCP but I approved it to get our money back, on the condition we re-look at it at a later date,” Jakeway said. “We need to go through it with a fine-toothed comb and throw some things out.”

Council approved the plan at a council meeting Feb. 21. The plan had to be adopted by Feb. 28 if the city wanted to recover $160,000 the city spent on the document, as part of a rebate program. Jakeway said at the time he had heard from people concerned about the plan but held back because of the time crunch. Council first received a draft of the 384-page plan on Jan. 10, then had to push the plan through first and second reading and then a public hearing on Feb. 8.

“I’ve had complaints but I’ve held back because of time constraints and I know it’s a living document so we can always go back and change it,” Jakeway said Feb. 21.

The mayor wasn’t the only one to have reservations about the plan. The provincial Agricultural Land Commission was concerned the plan was inconsistent with the Agricultural Land Commission Act and residents, particularly in the Quinsam Heights area, were displeased with property use and land zonings in the plan. The We Wai Kai/Cape Mudge Band also took exception to the city’s SOCP.

“The document seems to provide a great deal of protectionism for the downtown core of the city to the detriment of other areas, including First Nations lands,” said Brian Kelly, administrator of the Cape Mudge Band council, before council approved the plan.

Jim Abram, director for the Strathcona Regional District representing Area C (Quadra Island), said calling the city’s plan ‘sustainable’ is deceiving.

“In its current form the plan is unacceptable,” he said. “The plan proposes to locate high-density sub divisions in Menzies Bay and in Jubilee Heights. These are unsustainable because of the extensive distances from Campbell River’s centre…this plan would actually increase greenhouse gas emissions.”