Official Community Plan (OCP)
Kelowna 2040: Our Kelowna as We Grow
How our city looks and feels is shaped by our Official Community Plan (OCP), a high-level policy document that guides how and where we grow. Today, Kelowna is home to 138,500 residents, and by 2040, that population is expected to grow by more than 45,000 citizens. This growth will bring both opportunities and challenges and strategic planning is essential to ensure Kelowna can continue to be prosperous, vibrant and resilient in the years to come.
The 2040 OCP updated land uses, mapping and policies to reflect the community’s vision (as captured through Imagine Kelowna) and to clearly signal where development will be prioritized and supported with infrastructure and amenities. The OCP provides a policy framework for Council by addressing issues such as housing, transportation, infrastructure, parks, economic development and the natural and social environment.
On Monday, Sept. 20, City Council granted first reading to the 2040 Official Community Plan (OCP), and on Tuesday, October 26 it passed second and third readings. The Plan then went to the Province for approval, and it was adopted by Council on Jan. 10, 2022.
The final engagement phase of the Official Community Plan ran from January to March 2021 and was focused on refining the draft 2040 OCP. Engagement took place via Get Involved, the City's public engagement platform.
Creating Kelowna’s new Official Community Plan was a multi-year project, with multiple phases of public and stakeholder engagement and a variety of approaches intended to actively engage the community in a meaningful way to help to shape the future of Kelowna.
The engagement and information process around the 2040 Official Community Plan update began in February 2018 and concluded in March 2021. The community engagement portion of the OCP update was intended to be broad, inclusive, and innovative. Engagement activities were coordinated with the Transportation Master Plan update to ensure public outreach was strategically aligned.
The final phase of engagement on the OCP offered a variety of opportunities to demonstrate what we’ve heard from the public, show how feedback is reflected in the draft plan, and understand perspectives on the new policy directions in order to refine and finalize the plan.
However, it is important to note that this phase of engagement was narrower in scope and did seek not feedback on policy items that had already been established though earlier rounds of public input, such as the Growth Scenario, for example.
Policy areas to reflect and provide input on in this final phase
We sought feedback to be able to refine policy areas that can benefit from further discussion with the public. These major policy areas include:
- Urban Centre development and residential infill
- Stopping sprawl and protecting agriculture
- Climate action and environmental protection
How did the public get involved?
Depending on how and when you use the OCP, there were multiple way that residents could weigh in:
Digital focus groups
In-Person Interactive Display
In addition to these feedback options, stakeholder meetings were held with key community stakeholders to review the draft plan and get detailed feedback on its content. Key stakeholders include groups that represent local business, education, community and health and wellness interests.
Given the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, engagement in Phase 4 aimed to be inclusive as possible while prioritizing the health and safety of our community amid this ever-evolving public health crisis. Engagement took place primarily online.
Neighbourhood expos featured displays and activities to help participants explore a range of topics, such as transportation, parks, infill housing and future land use. Participants received a ‘passport to 2040’ to give feedback through an online survey that was available Sept to Oct. 4, 2019 or at four in-person events. Check out the summary of the sessions held at the Kelowna Community Theatre, Rutland Boys & Girls Club, Capital News Centre and Orchard Park Shopping Centre.
In fall 2018, landowners considering redevelopment of their properties within the next ten years were invited to share their ideas for consideration. A draft Future Land Use Plan will be developed in 2019, and those who made submissions will be notified if their idea was incorporated. To file an immediate development application, please visit the Property Development Application webpage. Redevelopment of agricultural lands or lands outside of the Permanent Growth Boundary were not considered through the idea generator.
Residents were invited to share how they want Kelowna to grow, as well as experience four different growth scenarios for Kelowna 2040. Public, interactive exhibits were held at Stuart Park, Okanagan College, and the Rutland Centennial Hall. In addition, residents were invited to walk through the Pick your Path interactive storybook and complete an online questionnaire. Read the engagement summary of feedback received.
Based on technical data, growth projections, and public and stakeholder input, Council endorsed a growth strategy that proposes a gradual shift toward a more compact and complete community. The scenario will be used as a benchmark to help guide development of the 2040 Official Community Plan, Transportation Master Plan and 20-Year Servicing Plan.
Imagine Kelowna and the Official Community Plan update
Updating the Official Community Plan followed on the heels of nearly a two-year engagement process undertaken for the development of Kelowna’s new strategic community vision, Imagine Kelowna. The OCP engagement stages were framed in such a way as to build on what has been gathered through the extensive and varied processes already used through the Imagine Kelowna visioning engagement, rather than attempting to duplicate or re-engage on a similar topics.
The topics covered by the OCP are fundamental to understanding the complex trends and changes that affect long-term planning for our municipality. Imagine 50,000 more people in our city. Where would they live? How would they get around? Check out the resources below to find online summaries, videos and reports about a number of these topics. Stay involved, get curious, be informed, share your passion, and imagine your influence on our Kelowna.
Growth scenario to 2040: Guiding future residential growth
The endorsed growth scenario identifies generally where future residential growth, estimated at 25,000 units, would be targeted between 2020 and 2040. The growth scenario will guide the Future Land Use Plan and policy development for the Official Community Plan, Transportation Master Plan, and the 20 Year Servicing Plan.
To explore the four growth scenarios that were proposed through the engagement process in more detail, with in-depth technical analysis, access the scenario dashboard.
Facts in Focus discussion papers
Learn about the topics covered by an OCP process by reading through the below Facts in Focus discussion papers and interactive summaries.
Citizens’ daily lives are profoundly impacted by the shape of their cities – their urban form. Great urban form can make residents healthier – both physically and mentally. Through the OCP update, in connection with planning for Our Kelowna as We Move, the Transportation Master Plan, as well as the 2040 Infrastructure Plan, lasting, positive change can be made.
There is global consensus among climate scientists that climate change is happening and that human activity is the cause. Communities must be prepared to join others to respond to the impacts of climate change (climate adaptation) while at the same time reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (climate change mitigation) to minimize climate impacts.
Over the next 20 years, Kelowna is expected to grow by 50,000 people, providing significant benefits to the region but also putting substantial pressure on the City to finance and build new infrastructure to support growth. The decisions around where these residents are encouraged to live in Kelowna will determine the infrastructure that will be required and the financial impact to the City and taxpayers.
The Kelowna 2030 Official Community Plan (Bylaw 10500) was adopted by City Council on May 30, 2011 and remains in effect until the new OCP is adopted.
View the 2030 Official Community Plan (OCP) chapters.
Official Community Plan Indicators Report 2016
The Indicators Report monitors the effectiveness of the OCP on the ground. As progress is measured and trends emerge, the City can make adjustments where needed to ensure the OCP remains a relevant and effective guiding document. The 2016 report suggests an overall positive performance, with 76 per cent of the indicators performing in a positive or neutral direction.
All municipal policies, plans and regulations must align with the OCP Bylaw, so it is a powerful guide to City decision-making. An effective OCP provides clear direction but does not preclude change to the plan based on evolving circumstances or interpretation of policies by Council and staff. In this way, an OCP is often considered a “living document.” This OCP Review seeks to integrate or ‘hardwire’ sustainability into all decisions and create greater alignment of City policies, programs, and projects.
An Official Community Plan (OCP) is a City bylaw that defines policies for land use and development. An OCP takes a long range view to ensure that the needs of current and new residents can be accommodated. For instance, based on projected population growth, we learn how many new homes will be needed. The OCP details what types of homes (apartment, townhouses, single family homes, etc.) are needed and provides policy direction on how, when and where those new homes will be located. The OCP, in addition to housing, addresses many other aspects of the City, including environmental protection, economic development, transportation, infrastructure and land use.
City Council, City staff, developers and professionals (architects, engineers, planners, landscape architects, etc.) use the OCP to understand what the community wants as it relates to the delivery of housing and other land uses, transportation services, infrastructure and amenities. They also use the OCP to understand which areas are suitable for development and which are not. The public can use the OCP to gain a better understanding of local issues and how they are planned to be addressed, or what changes might happen in their neighbourhood.
Provincial legislation (Local Government Act) outlines the purpose, required content and discretionary content of an Official Community Plan (OCP). The purpose of an OCP, under this legislation, is a “statement of objectives and policies to guide decisions on planning and land use management.”
The City has a number of plans or guidelines in place that have a very detailed focus on specific issues in the community that may or may not be land-use oriented. This is not uncommon for a city of our size. However, inclusion of all those other issues in an OCP creates an unwieldy document that does not necessarily focus on land use and development as intended in the legislation. In the case of Kelowna, there is enough Council and community support for these other plans in place today to stand on their own as separate policy documents and to create an OCP focused exclusively on land use planning and development.
An Official Community Plan (OCP) review involves significant public involvement from beginning to end so that goals and policies reflect community concerns and hopes for the future. During an OCP update, the review process is open, transparent, and requires broad input from residents, elected officials, staff, and stakeholders. It is the City’s goal to engage residents of all walks of life to participate in a wide number of activities during the review.
The Zoning Bylaw is a regulatory tool that is very specific about land use, density, building siting (where a building can be located on a lot) and other issues such as landscaping and lot coverage.
The OCP is more strategic and often less prescriptive about specific sites. For instance, the OCP will say “this area will be a future growth area for high density housing,” whereas the Zoning Bylaw will say that the building on that specific lot will be 12 storeys tall and cover 50 per cent of the lot.