The Open House was an opportunity for the curious to read the proposal from cover to cover and learn about the direction the panel had reached after months of hashing and rehashing zoning, water, and much more. This was the first time the public was invited for a close look at what was hoped by the panel would soon be the “official” official community plan.
Regional Director Okanagan Similkameen planner Christopher Garrish was on hand along with Regional Director Brad Hope and committee members Tim Hall, Kim Maynard and Linda Allison to answer questions and offer input on the plan. Included in the hand-outs was a before and after snapshot of the old versus the new. While the turn-out was small, the Tuesday Princeton open house and the Wednesday Tulameen open house did draw a few.
Garrish had hoped the open houses would lead to some feedback from Area H residents, but said much of the talk turned to the aquatic centre referendum instead. “The timing was somewhat unfortunate said Garrish, “but those who did come out with other questions were the usual people who come out to discuss a specific issue that is related to their property. This whole process was a follow up to a big survey sent out back in 2009 to rural residents. Residents were then asked to participate in an online survey with more specific questions surrounding the most prevalent concerns which popped up. This was a start to the Official Community Planning (OCP) process.”’
Garrish continued by explaining what exactly the purpose of an OCP should be. “An OCP is an essential guide for residents, landowners, businesses, community organizations and governments that may be contemplating any changes related to land use, development, building and infrastructure in Electoral Area ‘H’. Should the Draft OCP for Electoral Area ‘H’ be adopted, all decisions made by the Regional District in Electoral Area ‘H’ must be consistent with it. This includes decisions about zoning, subdivision, density, services and capital spending. It also provides guidance to other levels of government regarding issues that are beyond the jurisdiction of the Regional District. In this way, an OCP provides predictability and clarity for residents, businesses, neighbouring municipalities, as well as other levels of government.”
“The Draft OCP generally seeks to support the Town of Princeton in achieving some of land use objectives,” stated Garrish, “such as the substantial investment of public funds that went into developing the town’s “Industrial Estates” by directing more intensive industrial development to the town, which is also better able to function as a service centre. Similarly, the Draft Plan also recognizes that the Town serves as the commercial and retail hub of the area and should be the location for large scale service and commercial development. Growth areas in the Princeton Fringe area generally correlate to those identified in the Town’s OCP, while the Plan also recognizes that highway corridors help inform the initial impression that visitors will have of a community and that development adjacent Highways 3 and 5A should seek to present attractive appearances as important gateways to the Town of Princeton.”