Trustees have established a communications strategy through which to inform and consult with community members about development permit area (DPA) policy for steep slopes and other hazardous areas.
As previously reported, DPAs are areas in which developers are required to follow certain regulations to proceed. Steep slopes and hazardous areas require development permits to prevent harm to life or property.
Also as previously reported, as part of the review of the Official Community Plan currently under way, the Local Trust Committee (LTC) has prioritised updating the requirements for the DPAs.
At their May meeting at the WI Hall, the LTC heard a report from Planner Chloe Fox on how they might proceed with the policy update. Fox said that in response to geo-hazard mapping and a 2011 report commissioned by the LTC, the Volunteer Review Committee last year recommended that more public information was needed about DPAs in general. As a result, she said, a DPA fact sheet was developed, and is now available online.
The report also recommended that: a webpage and weblog be established with information about DPAs; a series of articles be submitted to the papers in conjunction with mailouts targeted to potentially affected parties; and the LTC hold community information meetings on the subject. Those identified as interest groups in the report included: property owners and residents; the Snuneymuxw and other First Nations; referral agencies such as the regional district, the transportation and health ministries, and others; the Advisory Planning Commission; and local realtors, contractors, and excavators.
Trustee Sheila Malcolmson said DPAs have been difficut to enforce in the past, in part “because we didn’t have confidence in the mapping”. She wondered whether putting the development permit guidelines in the Land Use Bylaw, rather than in the Official Community Plan might make them more enforceable. She said enforceability should be part of the guidelines for updating the regulations.
Malcolmson also said because the mapping is not digital, information about which areas are affected by DPA requirements is not easily visible to the public. Fox said that digital mapping is now available “it’s just a matter of translating that into a development permit map and getting it online”.
Asked about how the steep slopes DPAs might interact with a riparian areas regulation (RAR) – or regulations protecting fish habitat – Fox said where steep slopes areas interface with riparian areas, any steep slopes development requirements would have to also take the RAR into consideration.
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