Area D looks at plan

Area D/Rural Grand Forks residents got the chance to hear about the official community plan at a session held on May 5.

Area D/Rural Grand Forks residents got the chance to hear about the official community plan at a session held on May 5 at the Grand Forks Senior’s Hall.

Roly Russell, Area D director, said it was a good turnout and that residents were very engaged.

“The main goal was to go over where we are at with the official community plan (OCP) and talk about the current draft of that plan,” said Russell.

Russell said the OCP is very important as it as a policy document that guides the decision making for the region for the next several years. The current OCP was adopted in 1999 and is being reviewed.

To come up with an updated OCP, a steering committee was formed and a questionnaire was sent out to all property owners in January 2013. The steering committee is expected to deliver the revised OCP to the RDKB board of directors to be endorsed.

“We had conversations about different aspects of it like agriculture as well as sensitive areas like environmentally sensitive areas, gravel pits, you name it,” he said.

Russell said it’s great to be able to get input from the public regarding the OCP. He said the feedback they received was very good.

“We’ll continue to receive feedback,” he said. “People can email, call and so on now that they’ve heard where we’re at with the plan.”

The OCP outlines goals for Area D/Rural Grand Forks in several areas including growth and development; public participation; rural character; settlement pattern; agricultural land use; and affordable housing. It also lists objectives and policies including provincial jurisdiction objective; rural character objectives; agricultural objectives; and extensive agricultural objective. The OCP also includes sections on implementation of the plan and land use maps.

“Popular topics for discussion are agriculture and secondary dwellings on agricultural land and park and trails,” he said. “The development of a parks system in rural Grand Forks. Those are probably the key components.”

The OCP steering committee consists of Russell; alternate Area D director Brian Taylor; members of the Area D Advisory Planning Commission; along with other residents of Area D.