2019 Official Community Plan Review

2019 Official Community Plan Review - Marine Drive, Memorial Park

Completion of OCP Review!

On July 12, 2021, the current OCP Review process has concluded with City Council adopting Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw No. 2387, the bylaw that updates the City's OCP. Several changes have been made to the OCP, including limiting the scale (height and density) of development in the Town Centre, Town Centre Transition, and Waterfront Village land use designations, as well as introducing new definitions for affordable rental housing as they relate to density bonus incentives for projects that include affordable rental housing.

You can review the bylaw itself as well as Council discussion of the adoption on the Regular Council agenda page at the following link: July 12, 2021 Regular Council Meeting Agenda and Video.

A minor change to the bylaw was made prior to adoption, which was to limit the height of buildings on the Silver Moon (1081 Martin Street) and Montecito (1153-1169 Vidal Street) properties to three storeys (an exception within the Urban Neighbourhood land use designation, which otherwise would allow a maximum four storeys). 


The OCP Review Our Official Community Plan (OCP) is the city's blueprint for managing change to achieve our shared goals. It contains policies that guide Council's 'land-use' decisions for where and how we grow in the future, helping to conserve what we love about the city as well as improve the quality of life for current and future residents.

An OCP is typically reviewed every five years to ensure it remains relevant and continues to meet the needs of the community, but changes to the OCP can be considered by Council in between major updates. Council has expressed their desire for re-engagement with the public on certain aspects of the current OCP which was adopted in October 2017, to ensure that it reflects the community's values. Initial public engagement on several aspects of the OCP was undertaken in 2019, however due to the restrictions on in-person public engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic this engagement was paused.

In November 2020 directed staff to resume engagement on the OCP Review, with a focus on reviewing building heights, particularly in the Town Centre, outside the Town Centre and in the waterfront areas. This consultation has primarily been done through virtual methods while public health restrictions remain on public gatherings.

The City has worked with the public to get feedback and make sure the community's aspirations and concerns were understood and shared with Council before they made decisions on changing the OCP. Visit www.talkwhiterock.ca/ocp-review for previous updates.

In March 2021, following Council's review of the input from public engagement, direction was given to prepare amendments to the Official Community Plan. These changes were on the Land Use and Planning Committee agenda for May 31, 2021, and the OCP Amendment Bylaw was given first and second reading, as amended. A public hearing for the Bylaw was held to receive input from the community on June 21, 2021, and the Bylaw was given third reading, as amended, and finally adopted on July 12, 2021.

Phase One (All Topics) - Public Engagement Summary:

Phase Two (Town Centre) - Public Engagement Summary:

Phase Two (Building Heights outside the Town Centre) - Survey Results:

Phase Three (Town Centre) - Zoning Amendment for Town Centre:

Our Promise to the Public:

Official Community Plan - Public Input

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is an Official Community Plan?

An Official Community Plan (OCP) is a City bylaw that defines policies for the way land is to be used and developed in a City, over a 20-30 year timeframe. Aside from providing policy direction on development, the OCP addresses other matters important to a City such as economic development, transportation, housing, environmental protection, and infrastructure, in order to guide decisions in a way that helps achieve the community’s long-term vision. 

What is the difference between the Official Community Plan and the Zoning Bylaw?

The zoning bylaw is a regulatory tool that is very specific about the way land is used, how much floor space is allowed (density), building siting (where it's located on a lot), building height, and other issues such as landscaping and lot coverage requirements as they relate to a lot or site. The zoning bylaw regulates what a property owner can legally do with their land. The OCP is more strategic and often less prescriptive about specific sites and is the guiding document for general land uses. The OCP is the overriding land use direction for future zoning.

The City just adopted a new OCP in 2017. Why is the City reviewing the OCP so soon?

The City’s policies, plans and regulations need to be in alignment with the OCP. The OCP Review seeks to ensure that this important policy document is in alignment with the values, priorities, and aspirations of the community.

An Official Community Plan (OCP) Review involves significant public involvement from the beginning to the end so that its goals and policies reflect community concerns and hopes for the future. During an OCP update, the review involves broad input from residents, elected officials, staff, and stakeholders.

What issues and topics are part of the OCP review?    
  • Waterfront Enhancement Strategy (design/character guidelines for the waterfront);
  • Town Centre Review (including height, density and green/public open space); and
  • Building height review (heights outside of the Town Centre).
Who uses an Official Community Plan (OCP)?

Local governments (City Council and City Staff), developers, and professionals such as architects, engineers, and planners use the OCP to understand, for example, what the community wants as it relates to providing housing options, transportation services, infrastructure, and community amenities. The OCP is used as a land use guide, such as when Council makes decisions about property rezonings (i.e. changing use, density, or height). They also use the OCP to better understand which areas of the City are suitable for development and which areas are not.  

You can use the OCP to get a better understanding of our local issues and how we are planning to address them or what changes may happen in your neighbourhood.

 What happens to development applications during an OCP Review?

Applications to develop property such as a zoning amendment (rezoning) or Major Development Permit can still be submitted and brought forward for Council’s consideration under the existing OCP. Council may move the application forward, decline it, or request that the application be held until the OCP is complete or a later stage of the OCP Review.