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Official Community Plans


An Official Community Plan (OCP) can be developed by both municipalities and regional districts. The OCP provides the longer term vision for the community. Under the Local Government Act section 875, an OCP is a statement of objectives and policies to guide decisions on planning and land use management, within the area covered by the plan, respecting the purposes of local government.

Local governments are encouraged to consider how the OCP can be integrated with other community strategies, including transportation plans, sustainability plans, and waste management plans. Approaching planning and development in an integrated way supports coordinated efforts.

If a local government chooses to prepare and adopt an OCP, there are requirements for statements and map designations for:

  • the approximate location, amount, type and density of residential development required to meet anticipated housing needs over a period of at least five years;
  • the approximate location, amount and type of present and proposed commercial, industrial, institutional, agricultural, recreational and public utility land uses;
  • the approximate location and area of sand and gravel deposits that are suitable for future sand and gravel extraction;
  • restrictions on the use of land that is subject to hazardous conditions or that is environmentally sensitive to development;
  • the approximate location and phasing of any major road, sewer and water systems;
  • the approximate location and type of present and proposed public facilities, including schools, parks and waste treatment and disposal sites;
  • other matters that may, in respect of any plan, be required or authorized by the minister;
  • housing policies of the local government respecting affordable housing, rental housing and special needs housing; and,
  • targets for the reduction of greehouse gas emissions in the area covered by the plan, and policies and actions of the local government proposed with respect to achieving those targets.

A local government may choose to provide certain types of policy statements in an OCP, including:

  • policies relating to social needs, social well-being and social development;
  • a regional context statement (if the plan area is in a regional growth strategy area);
  • policies respecting the maintenance and enhancement of farming on land in a farming area or in an area designated for agricultural use in the community plan;
  • policies relating to the preservation, protection, restoration and enhancement of the natural environment, its ecosystems and biological diversity; and,
  • in cases where a matter is not within the jurisdiction of the local government, the plan may only state the broad objectives unless the minister has required or authorized the local government to state a specific policy.

Development permit areas (DPA) may be used to achieve some of the objectives identified in an official community plan. A DPA can be designated to: protect agricultural land, protect the natural environment, and guide the form and character of development. This authority can also be used to achieve climate action goals, including: energy conservation, water conservation and GHG reduction.


Tools such as the Community Infrastructure Planning Decision Support Tool can assist local governments in determining the long-term lifecycle costs of alternate development scenarios being considered during the development of an OCP.



Consultation during the development of an OCP

As part of the development of an OCP, the regional district board or the municipal council must provide one or more opportunities for consultation with persons, organizations and authorities that will be affected, for example:
  • the board of any regional district that is adjacent to the plan area;
  • the council of any municipality that is adjacent to the plan area;
  • First Nations;
  • school district boards, greater boards and improvement district boards; and,
  • the provincial and federal governments and their agencies.

The board or council decides what form the consultation will take. The consultation can include written referrals, open houses, information meetings, focus groups, workshops, newsletters, questionnaires, etc.

This consultation is in addition to the requirements for a formal public hearing.


Age-friendly and Disability-friendly Official Community Plans

The Ministry has developed an updated guide, Age-friendly and Disabilty-friendly OCPs (.PDF, 458 KB) to help communities incorporate accessibility provisions into their OCPs.


Such provisions make it easier for seniors and people with disabilities and health and activity limitations (including mobility, visual, hearing and cognitive impairments and mental health challenges) to move around their communities and participate in all aspects of community life – economic, social, recreational and cultural – through improved planning, design, and service provision. 


The guide (.PDF, 458 KB) includes over 80 recent best practice examples from over 40 local governments across the Province that have included strategies, goals, or policies in their OCPs aimed at improving accessibility. 


The guide (.PDF, 458 KB) was developed in support of Accessibility 2024, British Columbia’s 10-year action plan supporting its vision of becoming the most progressive province for people with disabilities in Canada.



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