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Municipal Affairs won't fast-track OCP

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The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District wanted the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to fast-track approval of the new Whistler South Official Community Plan but the request has been denied.

That means the OCP will now have to meet new consultation provisions laid out under sections of the Local Government Act that came into effect Jan. 1, 2001.

The SLRD asked the Ministry in October last year to expedite approval of the new plan that covers the unincorporated areas between Whistler and the Greater Vancouver Regional District.

The OCP is divided into four key sub-areas that cover the Callaghan Valley, Pinecrest and Black Tusk, Porteau Cove, Britannia and the Makin Lands, Garibaldi at Squamish and Furry Creek.

Under the proposed OCP, the regional district does not support residential or other urban development in the Callaghan Valley and it does not provide for additional lot developments in Pinecrest and Black Tusk.

The Howe Sound East sub area, however, has been identified for development. This area includes Furry Creek, Porteau Cove and Britannia – which the District of Squamish has hopes of annexing.

The OCP sees future population growth dispersed in these three communities and it provides for community facilities such as schools, fire halls, health centres and recreation facilities, as well as housing types and densities. It also outlines marine commercial recreation opportunities, upgraded infrastructure and the re-alignment of Highway 99.

The SLRD was hoping for approval of the OCP without completion of this sub-area plan.

Municipal Affairs official Mitch Fumalle wrote to the SLRD and noted that the ministry has worked for a number of years with the SLRD on a range of planning and land use management issues in the Howe Sound corridor.

"We have consistently supported the need for a broad strategic approach to development in the corridor," he wrote.

Fumalle noted there is currently an OCP covering the area and that the SLRD was proposing amending policies.

"I understand the plan (for Howe Sound East) is presently in preparation and that a draft form may be available in the near future. This plan will address the scale, form and location of development between Furry Creek and Squamish," wrote Fumalle.

"In a letter dated Oct. 15, 1999, Gary Paget provided a comprehensive overview of the Ministry’s approach to the need for an integrated framework of planning activities in the corridor." He said this approach was re-iterated in a letter dated May 18, 2000 from then Minister Cathy McGregor and a copy was given to the district.

Fumalle said in view of the structure of the new OCP and the amendments considered, plus the previous correspondence on the matter, it was the Ministry’s position that the Howe Sound sub-area and the OCP must be considered jointly. He said this would ensure concerns about broader implications of proposed development in the corridor are addressed.

He said the OCP would be placed on hold until the Howe Sound east plan is submitted for provincial approval.

At its recent monthly meeting, the SLRD passed a motion to advise the Minister of Municipal Affairs of their disappointment. The letter will say that the ministry has created uncertainty around the proposed OCP and it will request that the OCP be approved in a timely manner.

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