Port Alberni city council met in person on Oct. 12, 2021 for the first time in more than a year and a half. (ELENA RARDON./ ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Port Alberni city council met in person on Oct. 12, 2021 for the first time in more than a year and a half. (ELENA RARDON./ ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Port Alberni hires consultant to update its Official Community Plan

Officials say updated document will guide city through new development pressures

The City of Port Alberni is updating its Official Community Plan (OCP) for the first time in 14 years.

Earlier this year, the city issued a request for proposals for consulting firms to assist in the completion of a new OCP. The city received six proposals from qualified consulting firms, all within budget.

During an in-person council meeting on Oct. 12, deputy CAO Scott Smith said that city staff selected McElhanney Ltd. based on their understanding of the project, experience and qualifications.

“They presented a very strong proposal,” said Smith.

The OCP, said Smith, is a “key” policy document that helps guide local government decisions. The OCP describes the long-term vision of the community, looking at infrastructure, development of residential, retail and industrial areas, the future of the city’s waterfront, climate change and community character.

It’s been 14 years since the city last updated its OCP.

“This city has changed substantially in that time,” said Smith. “The city is currently experiencing strong growth and development pressures, which make it even more important to have an OCP that accurately reflects the community’s vision for the future.”

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Smith said the city will be engaging with residents and local First Nations on the community plan.

“I think it’s going to generate some great discussions,” said Smith. ”Where does this community see itself in the next decades?”

Council voted to award the consulting contract to McElhanney Ltd. at a cost of $148,807. The city budgeted $150,000 for the project in its 2021-2025 financial plan.

Councillor Cindy Solda was on council back when the OCP was last updated.

“I think we’ve come a long way in this community,” she said. “And I’m really looking forward to seeing what new things will be added to the plan.”



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

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