Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Official Community Plan?
How was the new Official Community Plan developed?
Why do we need an Official Community Plan?
Does White Rock already have a Plan?
What legal status will the Plan have?
How will Metro Vancouver's Regional Growth Strategy Influence the Plan?
What is the difference between the Official Community Plan and the Zoning Bylaw?

What is an Official Community Plan?
 
An Official Community Plan is a policy document which sets out the vision for the future growth and development of the City. An Official Community Plan integrates policies on land use, the economy, the environment, transportation, community facilities and public services into a broad strategy to direct growth and development.

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How was the new Official Community Plan developed?
 

The Official Community Plan planning process took place over four phases, starting in early 2015. The City focused on conducting background research, analysis, planning and design, broad community engagement with stakeholders and residents, and iteractive review with staff across departments and City Council.  Engagement opportunities included public open houses, surveys, community workshops, stakeholder meetings, a citizen OCP Working Group, and interactive pop-up booths at community events and in high people-traffic areas to capture the input of passersby.

Get a more detailed description of the process. 

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Why do we need an Official Community Plan?
 
The Plan will establish policies, guidelines and land use designations that are supported by Council and the community. This regulatory framework will provide a guide for how the City evaluates and approves future development. It will provide clear direction for how White Rock should grow in the coming years.

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Does White Rock already have an Official Community Plan?
 
Yes. However, it has been more than seven years since the vision and polices were created. It is time for an update that accounts for how the changes in White Rock and to better plan for the future.

Click here for the current plan.

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What legal status will this Official Community Plan have?
 
All Official Community Plans are prepared under the authority of the Local Government Act (LGA). The LGA describes an Official Community Plan as a comprehensive guiding document, primarily in relation to land use planning. The LGA outlines required policy components (e.g. approximate location, amount and type of residential development to meet the community's expected housing needs for the next five years) and optional components (e.g. policies relating to social well-being in the community). Historically, White Rock has chosen to include a wide range of “optional” policy areas in the Official Community Plan, including social, cultural, economic and environmental policies, and to move forward in areas where a local government can influence community success and livability. 

The LGA states that a local government is not obligated to immediately meet the objectives of the Official Community Plan or to undertake any project included in the plan, or to retroactively amend existing bylaws. However, all of the City's subsequent policies, plans, capital projects or bylaws must conform to the adopted Official Community Plan. For example, the Zoning Bylaw should be made consistent with the OCP over time.

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How will Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy Influence the Plan?
 
In July 2011, Metro Vancouver adopted a new Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) [Link], a land-use plan aimed at advancing the region’s livability and sustainability while managing anticipated growth. The Strategy is a shared commitment by Metro Vancouver and member municipalities to work together to achieve regional goals. The integration of land use and transportation strategies is a central component of the strategy and key to how the region grows and changes in the future.

A required component of the Official Community Plan is the "Regional Context Statement” for the City of White Rock [Link], which must be approved by Metro Vancouver’s Board. The Regional Context Statement must demonstrate how the Official Community Plan policies are consistent with the RGS and how they help achieve each of the strategies included in the Regional Growth Statement.  For example the City must show how it will work towards accommodating the projected employment, dwelling and population numbers included in the Regional Growth Statement. This statement will be developed as part of the OCP update process. 

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What is the difference between the Official Community Plan and the Zoning Bylaw?
The Official Community Plan is a high-level policy tool that is less prescriptive than the Zoning Bylaw. The Official Community Plan includes policies, land use designations and a land use designation map which provide guidelines for the type and location of growth that Council is likely to support. It also includes development permit areas and related design guidelines which provide additional guidance for development. Council cannot approve a rezoning application that is not consistent with the Official Community Plan.

The Zoning Bylaw is a regulatory tool that includes more specific requirements that new development must comply with (e.g. permitted density, site coverage, land use and parking). The Zoning Bylaw helps to implement the Official Community Plan.

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