Alternative Forms of Rural Development

Alternative Forms of Rural Development The RGS aims to enhance Rural Integrity by directing the majority of new growth into designated growth centres (Rural Village Centres) in electoral areas. One of the strategies for limiting development outside of designated areas is to prohibit decreases in minimum parcel size for subdivision below that established in an Official Community Plan at the time of adoption of the RGS. While this effectively means that the potential number of new lots will not be increased in the rural areas it also means that there is very little opportunity to achieve other goals and objectives in the RGS such as protecting ecologically sensitive areas and preserving forest and farm lands.

Policy 5.13 of the RGS aims to address this issue by allowing Official Community Plans to include polices that allow for alternative forms of rural development suitable for the electoral areas of the Regional District of Nanaimo. The intent is that alternate forms of rural development will result in less rural sprawl, reduced fragmentation of ecological systems and more sustainable forms of rural residential subdivisions. Key components of this policy are: that overall density and the total number of new lots are not increased; and, residual lands are protected in perpetuity for agricultural, forestry, conservation or other public good purposes.

In order to help implement this policy, the RDN initiated an assessment of alternative forms of rural development that would be consistent with this policy.

Project Status

Island Planning Services (IPS) was retained to undertake the Alternative Forms of Rural Development study. In May and June 2012, IPS held a region wide consultation with electoral area residents on the options for alternative forms of rural development. The consultation consisted of 4 open houses and workshops in the electoral areas and an online survey. Workshops were held:
  • May 23rd - Arrowsmith Hall
  • May 24th - Lighthouse Community Hall
  • May 26th - Cranberry Community Hall
  • June 5th - Nanoose Community Hall (Library)
A summary of the responses to the questions asked at the workshops and in the online survey can be found by Clicking Here.

IPS has completed a report with the final recommendations for the alternative forms of rural development options, as modified in response to the comments received during the community consultation process. Below is a link to the final document:

The report prepared by IPS was submitted to the Electoral Area Planning Committee (EAPC) for consideration on November 13, 2012. The recommendation from the EAPC was:
That the report titled 'Alternative Forms of Rural Development' be received.
The RDN Board adopted this recommendation at its November 27th meeting.

Next Steps

The suite of options from the Alternative Forms of Rural Development project is intended to be used as part of future Official Community Plan reviews. During an Official Community Plan review residents will be able to discuss and consider the options from the report in detail and consider if it is appropriate for the Rural Residential lands in their electoral area. Before these ideas can be implemented, supporting Official Community Plan policy must be in place.

Background Information

Background information to support this project can be found in the Regional Growth Strategy, and under "Relevant Documents" on the RGS Website.