The Port Coquitlam Official Community Plan, or OCP outlines the city's long-term vision and goals for land use, development, and growth. It is a framework that guides decision-making and helps to ensure that the city develops in a sustainable, equitable, and responsible way.
The current Port Coquitlam OCP was adopted in 2011 after an extensive community consultation process. It replaced the previous plan, which had been in place since 1997. The new plan took into account changes in the city's demographics, economy, and environment, as well as emerging trends in urban planning.
One of the key features of the Port Coquitlam OCP is its emphasis on creating complete, walkable, and sustainable neighbourhoods. The plan encourages the development of mixed-use areas that combine residential, commercial, and institutional uses, as well as the creation of pedestrian-friendly streetscapes and public spaces. This approach aims to reduce dependence on automobiles and promote active transportation, such as walking, cycling, and transit.
Another important aspect of the Port Coquitlam OCP is its commitment to protecting and enhancing the natural environment. The plan recognizes the city's proximity to important ecological systems, such as the Fraser River and the Coast Mountains, and aims to preserve and restore these areas. It also promotes sustainable land use practices, such as the preservation of green spaces, the use of rain gardens and other stormwater management techniques, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
The Port Coquitlam OCP also recognizes the importance of affordable housing and social inclusion. The plan sets targets for the creation of a range of housing types, including rental and social housing, to ensure that residents of all income levels can find suitable housing. It also encourages the provision of community services and amenities, such as schools, parks, and public spaces, to foster a sense of belonging and social cohesion.
In recent years, the Port Coquitlam OCP has faced several challenges, particularly with respect to managing growth and development. The city has experienced a significant increase in population and development pressure, which has led to concerns about the adequacy of infrastructure and services, as well as the impact on the natural environment and quality of life.
To address these challenges, the city has initiated a process to review and update the Port Coquitlam OCP. The process, which began in 2020, involves extensive community consultation and engagement, as well as analysis of trends and data related to population, land use, and the environment. The goal of the review is to ensure that the plan remains relevant and effective in guiding the city's growth and development in the coming years.
One of the key areas of focus in the OCP review is the management of growth and development. The city is exploring strategies to accommodate population growth while preserving the character and quality of existing neighbourhoods. This includes examining options for densification, such as the development of mid-rise and high-rise buildings in appropriate locations, as well as the provision of infrastructure and services to support new development.
Another area of focus in the OCP review is the protection and enhancement of the natural environment. The city is exploring ways to improve stormwater management, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote biodiversity and ecosystem health. This includes exploring the use of green infrastructure, such as living roofs and walls, as well as the preservation of key ecological areas and wildlife habitats.
The OCP review also includes a focus on social inclusion and affordable housing. The city is exploring strategies to increase the supply of affordable housing, particularly for low-income and vulnerable populations. This includes exploring the use of inclusionary zoning, which requires developers to include affordable housing in new developments, as well as the creation of partnerships with non-profit organizations to develop social housing.
In conclusion, Port Coquitlam‘s future is looking bright and optimistic for residents and businesses.