Official Community Plan For Electoral Areas (Bylaw 4270 HOCP)

The Cowichan region is changing. Population growth, an evolving economy and a changing climate require regional coordination and local action. To support this coordinated effort the CVRD is updating its Official Community Plan (OCP) for the Electoral Areas, the main tool guiding how we use land  and shape our communities. The OCP guides planning for our nine electoral areas.

The Process

The CVRD began this process by “harmonizing” our existing electoral area OCPs into one OCP for the electoral areas and is now moving towards modernizing it to address regional trends.

The result of this process is an OCP for the electoral areas that sets the foundation for the Cowichan Valley to be an attractive place to live work, and play for years to come.

This OCP for the electoral areas does not cover the four Incorporated Areas in our region (City of Duncan, District of North Cowichan, Town of Ladysmith and Town of Lake Cowichan) which each have their own OCPs.

Key Benefits 

  • Clarity, consistency and flexibility of policy, regulation and guidelines to ensure efficient and cost-effective decision-making and fair outcomes
  • Standardized information from which to make good planning decisions
  • Opportunity to innovate and better address the pressing issues of our time (e.g. growth management and climate change)

Why Harmonization?

  • There was as many as 30 years between the oldest and newest CVRD OCPs.
  • The project reduced the size of the existing OCPs by about 50%, removing repetitive and sometimes conflicting objectives and policies that unnecessarily clutter and complicate the planning process.
  • The project is expected to save 45 staff years and $4.5 million in Official Community Plan policy work over the 15 year policy update cycle.
  • A single guiding OCP for our Electoral Areas is in line with our Cowichan 2050 Framework.

Communication & Engagement 

Thank you to the 602 participants of our Phase 1 OCP for the Electoral Areas open houses and online questionnaire held between February 1-22, 2020.

In February 2020, the CVRD invited electoral area residents to participate in an initial community engagement process to inform them of the OCP for the Electoral Areas  process, prioritize the OCP for the Electoral Areas goals and values, and gather input on how they would like to be involved in the Modernized Official Community Plan for the Electoral Areas process moving forward.

The top three priorities are:


Nature-Based Environmental Protection

Low-Impact Agriculture

Low-Impact Agriculture 

Rural Character

Retention of 
Rural Character 

The results of this initial phase are summarized here. Find the detailed results here.

For more information related to the modernization of the official community plan, please visit here.