Plan pushed forward to accommodate funding

Heavy reading at the last minute doesn’t impress two city councillors

The city’s new community plan received first and second reading at Tuesday’s council meeting despite some councillors’ concerns they didn’t have sufficient time to review the document.

The draft Sustainable Official Community Plan, designed to guide council in making decisions that affect the community’s future, was presented to city council for first, second and third reading.

However, Coun. Andy Adams changed the recommendation at the start of the meeting to only include first and second reading so the plan would not immediately proceed to the next stage – the public hearing.

“Council has not had the opportunity – this was just put on our desk before the meeting – to review this draft and I feel I’m put in the unenviable position of having to do first and second reading on something I’ve not read,” Adams said. “It goes against every principle I have as a councillor and that’s to do due diligence.”

Coun. Claire Moglove also expressed concern for not having enough time to look over the document.

“On first glance, it appears to be a complete revision of the Quinsam Heights land use,” Moglove said. “I’m a little concerned about passing first and second reading.”

Moglove asked if council could postpone first and second reading until the next council meeting on Jan. 24.

Ross Blackwell, the city’s land use manager, reminded council there is a very small window to have the community plan passed and Jan. 24 would be too late as it would still have to pass third reading and then go to public hearing.

Funding to complete the plan will only be provided if the city adopts the plan by Feb. 28. If the plan is not adopted by that date, a $140,000 grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Green Municipal Fund and a $20,000 grant from the Real Estate Foundation of B.C. will be pulled.

Blackwell said council could still make minor changes to the plan after first and second reading.

Coun. Larry Samson urged council  not to waste time.

“I think it’s important we move forward on this, as Mr. Blackwell mentioned we can come back and re-visit some of this, but I think with the timeline it’s important to move forward on this,” Samson said.

Coun. Ron Kerr said he supported the plan and was ready to move the process forward.

“I was involved with the SOCP (Sustainable Official Community Plan) process from the beginning, it was very intense,” Kerr said.

The process, which took 18 months, involved several public open houses and meetings. Les Lengyel, who was on the community plan steering committee, said local engagement was integral to the creation of the plan, which includes the Master Transportation Plan, an Energy and Emissions Plan and an Agriculture Plan.

“We estimated over 1,500 individuals came and participated in the SOCP compared to the last OCP (Official Community Plan) which I was told had 50 people participate in,” Lengyel said.

Last September, the city was recognized by the province with an excellence in civic engagement award for its community plan process.

“The SOCP is the first review of city-wide policies since 2005,” Lengyel said. “This plan incorporates a more updated vision of the community, a 50-year vision to position Campbell River to be a vibrant and resilient community.”

Coun. Mary Storry thanked all the volunteers and city staff who put in countless hours on the plan and suggested including the Tyee Spit plan, the height restriction building plan and the solid waste plan.

Storry motioned to pass first and second reading but requested a another meeting prior to Jan. 19 for more discussion and potentially third reading.

The motion passed with councillors Adams and Moglove opposed.