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About the project

Area H  OCP Review The Electoral Area H Official Community Plan (OCP) Review kicked off in January, 2016 with an online survey. The first community meeting was held on February 3, 2016 and attended by over 150 people.

In Phase 2, a Community Working Group of approximately 30 volunteers further explored the issues identified by the community. Proposed direction for revisions to the OCP was presented back to the community at the June 22 Open House. The next step is to draft a revised OCP and bring it back to the Working Group and community for review and revision.

Also as part of this OCP Review an Active Transportation Plan is being created, and a preliminary analysis of the Agricultural Land Reserve boundary is being conducted. Read below for more information on those projects.

Active Transportation Plan

The Regional District wishes to accommodate and encourage active modes of transportation in Electoral Area H as a means to improve community health through increased physical activity and reduce motor vehicle-related greenhouse gas emissions. To this end, the Regional District has initiated development of an Active Transportation Plan, which will ultimately be included in the Official Community Plan (OCP).

The Active Transportation Plan sets forth a new approach to satisfying transportation and recreation demand, working toward a multi-layered active transportation network of roadways, trails, waterways, and supporting programs and services that facilitate sustainable, safe and healthy transportation. The AT Plan aims to shift demand to active modes that encourage physical activity and reduce carbon emissions, while building a healthier, more sustainable community. Although there are significant challenges, there are also a number of opportunities that the Regional District of Nanaimo can leverage in order to achieve increased walking and cycling without compromising safety, security and comfort.

Visit the Active Transportation Plan website.

Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) Preliminary Boundary Analysis

What is an Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) Preliminary Boundary Analysis?

Also known as the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) boundary review project, the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) has initiated a project that is reviewing land that is suitable for farming in Electoral Area 'H'. The project is intended to provide information that will be considered as part of the Electoral Area 'H' Official Community Plan Review.

One of the primary outcomes of this project is to increase confidence in the accuracy of the ALR boundary in Area 'H'. The project is designed to identify discrepancies and to evaluate land lying within and outside the ALR for its suitability for farming.

The project's findings will be used to update existing agricultural data for Area 'H', and will be used to inform the Electoral Area 'H' OCP Review. Further, the information from the study may be used if the RDN were to pursue an application to the ALC for an ALR boundary adjustment in the future. This project does not imply that property will be excluded from or included in the ALR, nor make it easier to develop.

The project started in June 2016 and is scheduled to conclude in early 2017.

What is the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR)?

The ALR is a provincial land designation intended to preserve and protect agricultural lands in BC. The ALR is administrated by the Provincial Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), who is dedicated to preserving agricultural land and encouraging farming in BC.

In the early 1970s, the determination of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) boundary was based largely on the Government of Canada's Canada Land Inventory (CLI) maps which were available at a 1:50,000 scale. The CLI system rated land for agricultural capability on a scale of Class 1 to Class 7 based on biophysical factors such as soils and climate. Class 1 land is considered the most suitable for a wide range of agricultural production while Class 7 land has no capability for agriculture. The original designation guidelines, generally stated, included lands in the ALR if they had capability ratings of Class 1 to 4.

The draft ALR maps were produced in the early 1970s by the Ministry of Agriculture and were then provided to Regional Districts so that recommendations and adjustments could be made based on public information from community meetings. The official ALR boundaries were subsequently confirmed by government between 1974 and 1975.

In the 1980's, province-wide ALR fine tuning reviews were initiated by the ALC in order to have the boundary refined for accuracy in areas where new data had become available. The results are that the ALR in the RDN consists of an estimated 18,729 hectares of lands, of which 3,387 hectares is located within Area 'H'.

How can I get involved?

The ALR boundary review project is targeted at landowners who have either applied to the ALC for subdivision/non-farm use/exclusion or inclusion within the ALR and been denied; have expressed an interest in applying to the ALC; or farm land that is currently not within the ALR. These landowners will be invited to share information about their property relating to agricultural suitability. In addition, the RDN will consult with other external agencies, including the ALC, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

If you meet the criteria and have not been contacted by the RDN or Upland Consulting, you can contact Ione Smith at 1-778-999-2149 or ione@uplandconsulting.ca to participate.

For general questions and comments about the OCP review for Area 'H', please visit the OCP review website at www.rdn.bc.ca/areahocp or contact Courtney Simpson, Senior Planner, RDN at csimpson@rdn.bc.ca or 250-390-6510.

Last Modified:  Sep 21, 2016
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