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Blank Slate Approach to OCP update

July 27, 2006

PORT MOODY - The City of Port Moody is taking a novel approach to offer residents more opportunity than ever to influence the vision of their city in the future.

City council decided Tuesday to take a “blank slate” approach to launch the update of the city’s Official Community Plan (OCP).

The blank slate approach is an innovative method of planning that involves residents in meetings and workshops for the purpose of gathering input. This marks the first-time the City of Port moody will employ the blank slate approach to public consultation.

The unique opportunity is tantamount to giving residents a white canvass and paint brush to design an image of what they want the city to look like in the years ahead. They will also help design the road map on how to get there, said Tim Savoie, director of planning and development services for the City of Port Moody.

“The community is invited, essentially without any preconceived process or notion, to have a say in crafting the new OCP,” Savoie said.

One of the unique qualities of the blank slate approach is that it seeks public input about the process itself. “Nothing is pre-determined,” Savoie said. “The first thing we want to find out, before the process even starts, is how the community wants to be engaged. Residents will help us plan, organize and develop the consultation process.”

Cindy Chan Piper, a planner for the City of Port Moody, is keen to try the blank slate approach because it invites the community to give the broadest possible input to the city. “It ensures the OCP comes from the community,” Chan Piper said. “In other words, if we want the plan to reflect the desires of Port Moody residents, the policies and direction of the OCP need to come from the community. With this new blank slate approach, we’re going in with no preconceived ideas. This will be the community’s plan, not our plan right down to the community having a say as to how they want it done. It’s completely open.”

Mayor Trasolini is a strong supporter of the blank slate approach because it is consistent with the new Council Strategic Plan and the key goal of engaging the community. “Council wants to understand how residents wish to be involved. I can’t see a better way to find that out than by asking them up front at the start of the OCP process,” said Mayor Trasolini.

The first consultation workshops for the OCP update will start in mid-September. The next step after the blank slate consultation will be to submit the public’s ideas to Council for endorsement of the remainder of the OCP’s update process.

The OCP is a council-approved document that describes the vision of the future over the next 20 years.  The city is required to update its OCP every five years under the Local Government Act. The city is aiming to complete the OCP update in 2008.

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