Kimberley’s story follows the adaptation and evolution of the community from a successful mining town into a unique mountain lifestyle community. The community has been in the process of reinventing itself since the announcement of the planned closure of the Sullivan Mine, which operated from 1909 to 2001. With an abundance of natural beauty and exceptional recreational amenities Kimberley is now focused on the development of a diverse economy while maintaining a healthy environment.
Kimberley offers an exceptional quality of life combining a distinctive small town character, friendly people, affordable living, accessible amenities and beautiful natural surroundings that make it an increasingly desirable place to live, work, visit and play. As a result, the future challenge is to identify mechanisms to maintain the quality of life while defining opportunities to accommodate growth and redevelopment that will encourage a prosperous local economy.
The community has identified the desire to diversify the economy, but not to the detriment of the visitor experience or the quality of life of its residents. The ability to adapt to the changing fabric of the community has been possible because of the community’s appreciation of their quality of life and willingness to share it with others; as a result, the community is proactively defining its future.
1.1 Purpose of the Official Community Plan
The Province of British Columbia’s Local Government Act (LGA) enables municipalities to have Official Community Plans (OCP). The LGA defines an OCP as a general statement of objectives and policies to guide planning and land use. The LGA also states that the OCP must include consideration of regional context to ensure that local objectives and values coordinate with regional goals and directions.
Planning helps us to anticipate and address future community needs, it provides us with insight so that we may predict and prepare for the future, and it establishes goals, objectives and strategies to guide and manage change. The OCP is intended to be a high-level tool available to municipal governments to chart a course for the future.
The plan is a guide for residents, property owners, businesses and governments that may be contemplating development, land use changes, and/or constructing infrastructure in Kimberley. Once the plan is adopted, all decisions made by the City must be consistent with the Plan, including, but not limited to decisions about development approval, community services and capital spending. It will also guide other levels of government regarding issues that are beyond the jurisdiction of the City. In this way, the Plan provides predictability and clarity for residents, businesses, neighbouring municipalities, as well as other levels of government.
The policies of the Plan are meant to balance the demands placed on the land base to ensure an equitable, comprehensive, and logical distribution of land uses. Policies are often implemented on a long-term basis, generally over a 20 to 25 year period. Therefore, the OCP provides a basis for the following actions:
- The adoption or amendment of land use regulations.
- The direction of public and private investment.
- The guidance of elected officials, and others having statutory approval authority, in the evaluation of proposals, referrals, and amendment of bylaws.
- Bringing the City into compliance with provincial regulations, such as the Riparian Areas Regulation and the greenhouse gas management requirements of the Local Government Act (LGA).
1.2 Why Update the Plan?
It is recommended that municipalities review their OCP at least every five to seven years so that they remain current. Kimberley’s last OCP was adopted in 2005. The numerous elements of change that Kimberley has faced since that time has necessitated an update to the plan and policies, primarily those related to growth and land use. In the process of reviewing the current OCP a broad range of planning issues were identified by the community, City staff and Council to be addressed through the update.
Securing Kimberley’s vision for the future requires a collective appreciation of community values and assets and a desire to protect and enhance them for future generations. Therefore, the process of updating the OCP involves revising and creating new strategies, policies and actions, with comprehensive input from the community, so the updated directions reflect current, and anticipate future, local needs, vision and values. The objectives and policies set out in this OCP will guide Council’s decisions on a wide range of issues.
The community plan outlines Kimberley’s land use goals, objectives and policies for the next 25 years and how these will be implemented. Therefore, the OCP’s strategies will be linked to various courses of action to ensure that Kimberley will meet its goals and continue as “a good place to be”.
1.3 A Guide for Decision Making
The objectives and policies of the OCP guide planning and land use decisions and provide stability and predictability. The plan also helps to integrate decisions on land use, transportation, the environment, community facilities and social and economic planning into a broad municipal strategy. Therefore, this document is a statement of Council’s general intent with respect to matters directly under local jurisdiction. Council is also committed to collaborating with First Nations and local governments in our region to ensure that our local objectives align with their goals and the overall regional context. The vision, priorities and objectives outlined in the plan are the framework. The policies and actions are the strategies to achieve the objectives and ultimately move us toward the community’s shared vision for the future.
In British Columbia, municipalities have the authority to adopt OCPs through Part 14 of the Local Government Act (LGA). This legislation stipulates what can and must be included in an Official Community Plan, as well as adoption procedures. This OCP for Kimberley has been prepared in compliance with this legislation. Amendments can and should be made to respond to the community as it evolves. Any amendments to the plan require public notice and a public hearing.