Victoria comes up with a plan, helped by plenty of public input

Official Community Plan will guide public decisions for next 30 years

Council adopted its Official Community Plan this week, but not before councillors made amendments in response to a wave of public input.

The plan now includes language supporting the creation of specific greenways between neighbourhoods, and identifies major roadways as “multi-modal transportation corridors.”

One of the goals of the visionary community plan is to support walkable neighbourhood hubs and emphasize alternative transportation methods, such as cycling and transit.

“Over the next 30 years, we are going to see significant shifts in the way people transport themselves,” said Coun. Lisa Helps.

Victoria’s population is expected to increase by 20,000 to a little over 100,000 during the same period.

“Arterial roads” such as Gorge Road, Douglas Street and Bay Street will eventually be developed to accommodate sustainable transportation, Helps said.

While the city has an established Greenways Plan, the OCP lacked explicit language to support greenways from Selkirk Village through to Chinatown and within the Rockland neighbourhood, Coun. Ben Isitt said.

Greenways are corridors of park-like space that allow for greater pedestrian and cycling travel.

“Rockland has the smallest amount of park space of any Victoria neighbourhood, so we inserted language to support a greenway connection in Rockland and to explore the acquisition of new parkland,” he said.

Previous amendments included an emphasis on the importance of public interests over private development interests along the Inner and Upper Harbour.

The public input process of the OCP involved more than 6,000 residents. The complete plan is available online at shapeyourfutureVictoria.ca.

dpalmer@vicnews.com