Official Community Plan on the books

After almost three years, the city's Official Community Plan has finally been passed.

After almost three years, the city’s Official Community Plan has finally been passed.

Monday evening, councillors voted to adopt the planning document, which will guide future development for the city over the next 15 to 20 years.

The document advises council on how to vote on everything from waste-management issues to planning new neighbourhoods.

The city has held several public meetings with residents since 2008.

They’ve asked the city to be more flexible and environmental.

Residents want secondary suites to be legally allowed in their backyards; they want chickens and goats to graze their property, and district heating systems to be installed in newer neighbourhoods.

However, the biggest issue the city will have to deal with is infill.

“It will be one of the topics in the OCP that comes up in the future,” said councillor Ranj Pillai Monday evening.

The plan proposes three contentious infill sites in Porter Creek, Riverdale and McIntyre Creek.

The city needs to make sure Riverdale is a safe place do infill, said Pillai, urging the city to carry out wellhead tests to determine whether the city’s water supply would be affected by new development.

The same goes for McIntyre Creek where environmentalists have fought hard to protect the wetland habitat.

“We need to look at how the surrounding areas will be impacted by those developments,” said Pillai.

Although the Official Community Plan is passed, new zoning doesn’t automatically go into affect.

Councillors still need to vote on each specific bylaw.

You can view the new Official Community Plan online at www.whitehorse.ca. (Vivian Belik)