What is an Official Community Plan?  

The Official Community Plan (OCP) is the primary tool that local governments can use to guide the long-term growth of their communities. The plan will guide decisions made by City Council, staff, developers and professionals related to delivery of housing, transportation services, infrastructure and amenities. 

  • An effective OCP provides clear direction but should remain flexible in order to respond to evolving circumstances or interpretation of policies by Council and staff. As a result, an OCP is often considered a “living document.”  
  • OCPs cover the entire city and provide general policies, but are often supplemented by more detailed neighbourhood plans that are undertaken separately. 

An Official Community Plan (OCP) is a City bylaw that defines policies for land use and development. An OCP takes a long range view to ensure that the needs of current and new residents can be accommodated. For instance, based on projected population growth, we learn how many new homes will be needed. The OCP details what types of homes (apartment, townhouses, single family homes, etc.) are needed and provides policy direction on how, when and where those new homes will be located. The OCP, in addition to housing, addresses many other aspects of the City, including environmental protection, economic development, transportation, infrastructure and land use.

Learn more.

Why do we need an OCP? 

All municipal policies, plans and regulations must align with the OCP Bylaw, so it is a powerful guide to City decision-making. An effective OCP provides clear direction but does not preclude change to the plan based on evolving circumstances or interpretation of policies by Council and staff. In this way, an OCP is often considered a “living document.” This OCP Review seeks to integrate or ‘hardwire’ sustainability into all decisions and create greater alignment of City policies, programs, and projects. 

Why are we updating the OCP? 

The OCP (Bylaw #10500) was last updated in 2011 and has helped guide critical Council and community stakeholder decisions related to land use since then. The OCP update is a comprehensive review and rewrite of the Plan to ensure it accurately reflects our community's Imagine Kelowna vision. The OCP puts the goals of Imagine Kelowna into action and helps us manage future growth in a sustainable way.

What's gone into developing the draft? How was the community consulted?

An Official Community Plan (OCP) review involves significant public involvement from beginning to end so that goals and policies reflect community concerns and hopes for the future. During an OCP update, the review process is open, transparent, and requires broad input from residents, elected officials, staff, and stakeholders. It is the City’s goal to engage residents of all walks of life to participate in a wide number of activities during the review. 

Learn more about the 2040 OCP engagement journey.

What is the purpose of this final phase of engagement?

Since the draft 2040 OCP is based on Imagine Kelowna and subsequent rounds of OCP-related engagement, we are not revisiting policies and objectives that have already undergone in-depth public consultation during this phase. The scope of this phase is geared toward understanding the public's perspective on specific areas of the plan that can benefit from further discussion. Public input during this phase will inform revisions to the draft plan before a final plan is taken to Council for endorsement. 

What needs to be in an OCP?

The Local Government Act provides a list of purposes and goals that OCPs should work towards. OCPs must include statements and map designations for the area covered by the plan. For a detailed list of what needs to be included in OCP, visit the Province's Local Government Planning page. 

What's the difference between the Zoning Bylaw and OCP?

The Zoning Bylaw is a regulatory tool that is very specific about land use, density, building siting (where a building can be located on a lot) and other issues such as landscaping and lot coverage.

The OCP is more strategic and often less prescriptive about specific sites. For instance, the OCP will say “this area will be a future growth area for high-density housing,” whereas the Zoning Bylaw will say that the building on that specific lot will be 12 storeys tall and cover 50 per cent of the lot.

What happens after the OCP is adopted?

While OCPs do not require Council to proceed with any project mentioned within the plan, all bylaws and works carried out by the City of Kelowna must be consistent with the plan. The plan is a statement of policy and does not directly regulate the use of private property, however. 

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