After almost two years of planning, updating, and consultation, the update to Fernie’s Official Community Plan (OCP) is complete. Fernie Council voted on Monday, May 12 to bring the new OCP forward to a future public hearing to give residents a chance to weigh in on the update.
The OCP takes into account a number of community components that work towards success and long term sustainability for Fernie, including land use and development, education, housing, social development, economy, transportation, natural areas, and infrastructure. It incorporates all of the plans and strategies Fernie has developed and implanted over the last 10 years, including the 2011 Integrated Community Sustainability Plan called Forever Fernie.
The vision for Fernie, outlined in the OCP, was developed from the 2002 OCP, Fernie’s Quality of Life process, Forever Fernie, and community input received during the OCP update. It states, “Fernie is an economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable community where everyone has the opportunity to pursue an excellent quality of life. Fernie’s compact neighbourhoods provided a diversity of housing options, and are accessible and friendly. A robust, diverse, and resilient economy, including natural resource and tourism industries, supports a skilled workforce. The beauty of the community, its healthy ecosystems, and beautiful recreation and leisure opportunities attract residents and visitors alike.”
The update process focused heavily on input from Fernie residents. Although work officially began in the summer of 2012, the project had unofficially begun years earlier.
“It really started over six years ago when we put together the Official Community Plan Advisory Committee. We started with those members and ultimately ended up with a committee that worked on all of this,” commented Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano. “I really need to thank all of those people from the community, and council members and staff, that put so much time and effort into this. It was thoroughly worthwhile.”
The city worked with the Whistler Centre for Sustainability, partnered with EcoPlan, and received support from Cascade Environmental Resources Group. An OCP Community Advisory Committee was also set up, consisting of 15 volunteers representing a broad cross-section of Fernie residents, two city councillors, and the mayor.
“This is really the culmination of an exercise involving the community and members of council,” said Director of Planning Bruce Lennox. “Over 700 people were involved in the public process and the public consultation events.”
The City of Fernie Official Community Plan can be accessed in the agenda for the May 12 council meeting, viewable through the city’s website at www.fernie.ca.