Photo by Whitehorse Star
Photo by Whitehorse Star
Whistle Bend, Chadburn Lake park and improvements that have made the downtown waterfront a community gathering place were all once ideas envisioned as part of the city’s Official Community Plan (OCP).
In an interview Wednesday, city planner Ben Campbell was quick to highlight the importance of the document. It acts as an overall planning guide for the city.
The city boasts numerous examples of areas that were once just ideas that came out of the OCP, Campbell said. It was last updated in 2010.
Last week, the city launched its next review of the document, entitled Whitehorse 2040.
The OCP review is looking toward the next two decades. It began last week with a survey available on the city’s website until Jan. 25, two days after a drop-in event at the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre where residents can also provide input.
There will also be a number of meetings with stakeholders groups as the consultation portion of the work continues, Campbell added.
“It’s designed to be a fairly long phase,” Campbell said of the first of four phases that are proposed to eventually see a new OCP adopted in 2020.
Just a week into the survey, Campbell said there have been more than 40 responses with lots of time for residents to still have their say.
“It’s been a steady response so far,” he said.
While the consultation will continue until early 2019, the next three phases – exploring new concepts, creating the plan, and adopting the plan – are envisioned to each take about half a year. Campbell, however, noted there are no specific dates set in stone.
After the public input period ends, the city will draft a document detailing the comments and themes that emerged from the surveys, drop-in session and any other submissions that came in.
“It’s designed to be flexible,” he said.
He highlighted the need for flexibility in working on the plan, given it’s not clear exactly what will come up during the consultation phase and then need to be explored further.
Along with the consultation will be the work to incorporate several other plans that will help chart the city’s future into the OCP.
Those include the sustainability plan, downtown plan, transit master plan, bicycle network plan and many more.
“We want them to be integrated into the (OCP),” Campbell said.
As he pointed out, the OCP acts as the overarching document for all city planning.
Over the next nearly two months, city officials are hoping to get as much input from the public on how they envision Whitehorse in 2040.
“It’s all about awareness and getting the word out,” Campbell said.
The Jan. 23 drop-in session will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“The OCP is very much a community-led plan that reflects the ideas, expertise, and aspirations of Whitehorse residents,” Mayor Dan Curtis said last Thursday.
“We invite you to get involved in the OCP review so we can set the direction for how you live, work, and play in your city.”
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