Community and Land Use Planning
An Official Community Plan (OCP) is a policy tool used by local government to guide land use and community planning. OCPs provide certainty to residents and land owners regarding the location and nature of future growth and redevelopment. They can guide municipal councils in decisions about land use bylaws, servicing, and capital expenditures to accommodate change. Community desires are expressed in the Plan by means of broad objectives and policy statements.
The City of Castlegar’s Official Community Plan was completed in 2011 and set the following objectives or BIG IDEAS (OCP, 2011).
Connecting the Community
Changes to the transit services in Castlegar have improved the connections from North Castlegar to South Castlegar and the surrounding area. Castlegar will continue to build on these successes and advance the idea of a multi-modal transportation corridor along Columbia Avenue. Transit frequency should continue to increase along this route. Connections to Interfor and Zellstoff - Celgar during shift changes, as well as Selkirk College, the Airport and Gaming Centre need to be maintained and enhanced. Improvements to pedestrian and bicycle routes also need be considered.
Embracing the River
Preparing a plan that promotes stewardship and determines how to build better connections to the Columbia River. The Columbia River is a vital ecosystem for a wide variety of species and an important migratory corridor to the Rockies and Pacific Ocean. It is also an amenity that residents and visitors should be able to enjoy. Some options to embrace the river may include; trails, visual connections, access points, viewpoints, boat launches, marinas, bridges, and other riverfront amenities. Riverfront amenities include, but are not limited to the Millennium Walkway, ZuckerbergIsland, TwinRiversPark, and informal walking and hiking trails.
Revitalizing the Downtown
Reviewing derelict or underutilized buildings and public spaces to determine if they could be sustainably refurbished or adapted to a mix of commercial, residential, live/work buildings or public buildings.
Developing local food growing strategies, such as the grow-a-row program, that encourage land and produce sharing. In turn, these programs help to build on the successes of existing community gardens.
Diversifying the Economy
Encourage the entrepreneurism of Castlegar residents through programs and education as well as fostering ideas and opportunities for buying local products and goods. This includes supporting small and home based business, industrial diversification, regional commercial establishments and a vibrant downtown area. Adding large parcels of flat commercial land at the Airport will attract additional economic opportunities. Establishing the regional hospital in the vicinity of the airport will further diversify the economy and reinforce Castlegar's role as the regional centre of the West Kootenay.
Working with adjacent communities towards common sustainability goals, and providing complementary services and facilities.
Gateways to Castlegar
Creating distinctive entrances to the City along: Highway 3, Highway 3A, Highway 22 and the Downtown Revitalization Area along Columbia Avenue.
Improving Year Round Access
Castlegar is located in the KootenayMountains. While this creates stunning surroundings, winters can create havoc for people travelling to Castlegar from afar. Improving access to the City and region during winter should be done by working with the airlines serving the West Kootenay Regional Airport and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. The City can benefit from visitors and access on a year around basis.
Getting out of our Cars
The City has adopted a Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. To support the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, and other initiatives to get people out of their cars, this OCP proposes: more land for multiple family dwelling units than in the past; developments with a mixture of commercial and residential uses; specific growth areas within existing developed areas; and more focus on closer proximity to where people live, work, learn and play. These objectives are intended to help implement and find ways to promote alternative modes to the automobile for all aspects of development and community activity, which in turn, is fundamental to achieving sustainability goals.
Linking History and Place
An inventory of historical places and spaces enables the City to balance the appropriate level of protection with openness to access and education of the public about Castlegar's rich history. Developing mentorship programs within the community promotes and enhances the public's recognition of history. One strategy identified in the Input on Directions for Sustainability in Castlegar discussion paper was providing historical walks and boat tours in the community.
Aging in Place and Supporting Diversity in Living Arrangements
By permitting flexible but appropriate forms of secondary suites, garden suites and other forms of affordable housing, Castlegar can ensure that residents of all ages can find suitable housing. Encouraging the growth and utilization of home support services will support the elderly in their day to day lives and allow them to contribute positively to the fabric of the community.
Supporting a Culture of Creativity
Castlegar is a place that supports creativity. This is not only reserved for the creative arts, but also creative ways of doing things. Take for example, our ongoing Sculpture Walk Program, which has attracted visitors to our community, helped downtown business and engaged citizens in decision-making for the public art the City will purchase.
More information on the City of Castlegar Official Community Plan can be found below under downloads.
The City has also developed several Master Plans in support of the OCP. Master Plans are developed to guide specific community objectives.