Regional growth strategy adopted

A blueprint for the future is now official.

A blueprint for the future is now official.

The Regional District of the North Okanagan board has adopted a regional growth strategy for the next 20 years and it covers all communities.

“For the first time ever, there is a common vision for the region and what’s important for the region,” said Rob Smailes, planning and building general manager.

“All of the communities have been doing their own thing and this will look at directing growth and that benefits everyone.”

The process leading up to a strategy began in 2007 and among the issues identified in the document are rural lifestyles, agriculture, economic development, transportation, housing and energy.

Officials says the strategy doesn’t promote development or prevent growth.

“It encourages responsible long-term planning,” said Smailes.

While RDNO oversaw the process, Smailes says it doesn’t prevent individual jurisdictions from making land use decisions that meet their specific needs.

“Nobody is giving up anything. They are just looking at opportunities to work together.”

In fact, the strategy was developed through open houses, public surveys and meetings with various stakeholders. First Nations were invited to participate.

The next stage is to implement the various components of the strategy.

“There will be a five-year action plan where key priorities are identified and we will try to complete them within that period,” said Anthony Kittel, growth strategy co-ordinator.