Regional Growth Strategies

This type of strategy provides general guidance on regional growth, change and development over a 20-year period. It outlines key issues and long-range planning direction for regional district and municipal official community plans (or OCPs).

According to Section 429(2) of the Local Government Act, the following elements must be included in a regional growth strategy:

  • Transportation
  • Regional district services
  • Parks and natural areas
  • Economic development
  • Housing

A regional growth strategy helps ensure the future needs of residents are met by providing guidance for housing including the supply, location, types and affordability. It also serves as a framework for cooperation and coordination among regional districts, municipalities and the provincial government.

To do this, it must meet specific provincial goals (see Section 428(2) of the Local Government Act), for example:

  • Plan for adequate, affordable and appropriate housing: This could involve addressing basic elements that make housing affordable (e.g. proximity to services, lot size, permissible densities / land uses, etc.). or designating specific areas for housing when planning development and expansion.
  • Avoid urban sprawl: Any new housing developments must have access to adequate facilities and services
  • Minimize the use of cars: Settlement patterns need to encourage walking, bicycling and efficient use of public transit

Typically, a regional growth strategy is prepared by a regional district. Based on the strategy, municipalities within a district prepare Official Community Plans to address specific community needs and goals.

Examples

North Okanagan: Outlines policies to diversify housing options in the district, increase density and more affordable housing options, encourage collaboration and partnerships in the creation of housing, and encourage energy-efficient design and retrofits.

Metro Vancouver: Identifies goals for healthy and complete communities that have access to a range of services and amenities, which also helps to support housing affordability. Housing policies focus on the provision of diverse and affordable housing choices.

Resources

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