OCP process engages Toby Benches community

Toby Benches is about to receive an Official Community Plan of its own, which will replace the oldest Land Use Strategy in RDEK.

Toby Benches is about to receive an Official Community Plan of its own, which will replace the oldest Land Use Strategy in the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK).

The Toby Benches Land Use Strategy has been in use since 1998 (for 17 years), even though strategies are supposed to be converted to OCPs after a maximum of 15 years.

RDEK planner Kris Belanger said an OCP is an important step forward for any community.

“It is a chance to check in with the community and make sure that their values and vision for the future are being reflected in their land use policies,” Belanger said.

The main difference between an OCP and a Land Use Strategy is OCPs are adopted through bylaw, which gives them more authority. OCPs also typically provide more comprehensive rules for

land use.

“It is an overarching document that guides any development and the future of land use in the area,” said RDEK Area G director Gerry Wilkie.

So far, residents in the 134-home community have been invited to three meetings to help shape the OCP.

Belanger said he has been very impressed with the turnout at the meetings, which included 50 people attending the first one in March.

“For such a small area, it is really a testament to how engaged the residents are,” Belanger said. “It has been fun and exciting working with them.”

In June, the RDEK held a visioning workshop where residents could discuss and refine policies that had been prepared after the first meeting.

Belanger also attended the Toby Benches Society’s Annual General Meeting in July, where he was able to learn more about what residents want in an OCP.

“It was a nice way to have a few candid and informal conversations about people’s concerns,” Belanger said.

The meetings have helped the RDEK establish four categories for Toby Benches area assets: environmental, recreational, cultural and public safety. Belanger said the next step is to present a draft of the OCP by early winter.

“We will then go back to the community and have an open house to gather feedback,” Belanger said. “We will also be sending the draft to a number of provincial ministries and First Nations for their feedback.”

Depending on the extent of the revisions that are required, Belanger said the OCP should be ready for adoption in the first half of 2016.

Just Posted

The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read