The District of Kent’s new Official Community Plan is getting closer to being adopted, following a first and second reading Monday night.
Next, the community is invited to take part in a public hearing set for June 24, with the possibility of reconvening the hearing the following day if needed.
The OCP has been under review for the last year, and a draft document was discussed at a well-attended open house in November. The District said they received 47 written comments from the public, and six official responses from various levels of government, including the regional district, Fraser Health, the Village of Harrison Hot Springs, ministry of transportation, and two from the Agricultural Land Commission.
Based on those responses and further review, some changes have been made to the OCP. The document is the guiding text that helps council and staff plan land use into the future. Among the changes are a removal of a ‘gateway’ designation on the west and east side of the Agassiz Rosedale Highway. The Teacup properties will remain as residential reserve and the west side of the highway will remain agricultural.
The draft OCP had included the East Morrow Road and Industrial Way properties in the Downtown Revitalization Development Permit area. However, Darcey Kohuch said that designation was put in place prior to the development of the light industrial park that is there today. While they will still require new businesses in that area to be “tasteful”, he said, they won’t have to comply with downtown revitalization requirements.
They are also removing plans for two future collector roads, one at Mountain View to Limbert, and one that was planned for a Park Street rail crossing. The crossing isn’t realistic, Kohuch said. A future provincial highway connector from Key Road to Wilson Road has also been removed, as has pedestrian rail overpass link from Pioneer Road to Fooks Road.
The new OCP supports improvements to cycling routes, trail systems, and safety improvements to existing dike trails. It also includes language that supports sustainable food systems, through community gardens, food production on private property, and farmers markets.
A full copy of the new OCP is available at the District of Kent office during business hours, and online at the District website. It will also be made available at the Agassiz Library. Following the June 24 public hearing, council will read the OCP a third time before adoption.