This is a call to action! North Cowichan is about to lock down a 20 year plan to shape our community. We have until September 15 to fill out the Official Community Plan (OCP) Survey - then the die is cast.

Take the online survey now!

Responding To The OCP Survey

Guest Author: Marilyn Palmer, Architect, AIBC (ret), AAA (ret.), LEED AP, MLAI

If enough of us identify issues arising from current land-use policies; issues that are critically important to the future health of our environment, we will have a chance to move the dial significantly in the right direction.

It may be important to realize that this type of survey is rarely bespoke and thereby may miss concepts that are important to our Municipality’s unique characteristics and population. Of course there are issues that are shared by many municipalities as well - my point is simply to suggest we need not only comment on the proposed questions as they are written.

The issues I believe we must address in our survey responses, (even if we choose to omit some/many of the other questions asked by the consultant), include:

1) Land use policy should direct growth to areas that will strengthen existing cores and lead to walkable communities. We can’t ignore that our ‘downtown’ is Duncan.  

2) Our cycling infrastructure must be taken much more seriously, given the car dependent municipality in which we live.

3) Our approach to growth management must take environmental protections much more seriously.

4) We must stop polluting Quamichan and Somenos Lakes with stormwater and runoff, causing poisonous blue green algae blooms.

5) Land with significant agricultural potential that could enhance food security should not be developed for housing.

6) Specific, protective, management plans for our Municipal Forest lands must be included in the OCP.

7) Our new OCP’s policies must better identify and preserve rural / community character and should map and protect heritage structures and landscapes.

8) Rare ecosystems must be identified, mapped and protected. Examples include those found in the Quamichan Watershed.

9) Documentation of the character-defining elements of each Neighbourhood must be created, in collaboration with residents. Identifying and preserving the character of each Neighbourhood in the Municipality must be taken seriously.

10) All residential development proposals must have professionally created Neighbourhood Design Guidelines to forestall the continuation of unregulated, unsightly development.

10) The Municipality must create an Advisory Design Panel to review development applications on behalf of Council and those members of staff without design qualifications. Not to put too fine point on it, Duncan has an Advisory Design Panel.

If enough of us raise interest in these issues, and respondents simply include them in their survey responses, we could have a profound and long-reaching impact on our new land-use policy and give like-minded members of Council something to work with.

You can fill out the survey:                                                                      

Online: at

Phone: call 250-746-3263 to complete the survey with a staff member

Paper: You can pickup the paper survey at the Municipal Office or download a pdf version here

Take the online survey now!
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