City to remedy conflicts with update to its community plan

The city is updating its official community plan as several components of the plan conflict with the city’s zoning bylaw, according to city staff.

Clinton Crook, the city’s senior buyer, said in a report to council that the zoning bylaw is not always consistent with the city’s sustainable official community plan which underwent a major update in 2012.

The last significant update to the zoning bylaw was in 2006, before the city adopted its community plan.

To ensure the two documents jive, council, at its Dec. 14 meeting, voted to hire Modus Planning, Design and Engagement consultants at a cost of up to $120,000.

The consultants will be tasked with conducting a housekeeping review of the community plan and updating the city’s zonings to better reflect the goals, objectives, and vision of the sustainable official community plan, Crook said.

In particular, land use restrictions in Quinsam Heights will need to be reviewed as the official community plan sets a vision for large, single-family homes while the zoning bylaw calls for multi-home development.

“The OCP (official community plan) includes a large area of large estate lots and the zoning bylaw encourages higher density residential, including multi-family residential in some areas,” Crook said.

“The estate designation encompasses large areas of Quinsam Heights. The designation does not provide any policy direction in the intent or form of development in this area.”

Coun. Larry Samson wanted to ensure the city’s Advisory Planning and Environment Commission, which provides policy advice to council on topics such as the community plan, land use, and development planning, is consulted on the plans for Quinsam Heights.

Amber Zirnhelt, the city’s community planning and development services manager, said staff intend to come to council in the new year with an outreach plan as to how the city’s commissions will be engaged and consulted.

Coun. Charlie Cornfield said he would like to see the community plan be put on the commission’s work plan right away.

“I want to make sure the commission plays more than just a referral role here,” Cornfield said.

“The commission is made up of kind of a cross section of the community. We have developers, we have the environmental segment, we have the general public as well.

“I’d like to see the commission play a much more significant role.”

Having said that, Cornfield then put forward a motion to add the sustainable community plan review to the commission’s work plan.

That motion was approved by council.

The community as a whole is also expected to play a role in the review of the plan and the city’s zoning bylaw.

That engagement will be determined by the city and Modus consultants.

Issues to be looked at include:


Locations in the Painter Barclay area with highway and neighbourhood commercial that don’t have supporting official community plan designations.

Secondary suites – they are encouraged in the community plan to provide affordable housing but the bylaw does not reflect that.

Neighbourhood commercial – the community plan does not enable the use of property for small scale convenience commercial operations in many neighbourhoods.

The estuary – the community plan indicates this area should be developed for residential uses but the zoning bylaw still allows high density uses directly adjacent to this sensitive habitat.