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My name is Laurie McConnell, and I’m Your 1st-Person Guide to the Sunshine Coast, for over 15 years! Join me as I explore the Sunshine Coast, Powell River and surrounding islands and waterways in. From a full business directory, to blog (here), to video channel, to curated & trending social media page, to mobile app, […]

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Laurie McConnell

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Past Posts

Death by OCP Sunshine Coast

Death by OCP Sunshine Coast

By on February 14, 2014 in BUSINESS, COMMUNITY

by Laurie McConnell,

I have a fundamental problem with Official Community Plans… it is a necessary plan to have, but the way they are organized in our modern times, requiring those who wish to contribute (and protect the ideas they put forward for inclusion over the length of the OCP process) to commit to years of in-person meetings. That is in itself not sustainable and leads to OCPs that are representative of only a fraction of the population. There are so many modern tools, from webinars and conferencing online, highly vetted survey tools, discussion forums with tracking enabled – the idea that we’re still back at newspaper ads and meetings ad nauseum is ludicrous.

I noted in the OCP documents for Gibsons that the first group working on the Harbour Plan consisted of 49 members of the community and stakeholders. 81 people commented in the Phase II portion of that OCP. Is that reflective of the breadth of the Gibsons community?

I don’t think the current methodology around OCPs will engage younger families and many of us middle-agers. The first group finds them irrelevant and archaic, the second group – many of my cohorts – find them impossible to engage in, both due to format, and due to the dominance of some of the participants.

I know some folks (likely those most invested into the current OCPs) will say, ‘that’s the process, suck it up… you want a say, participate’, but I ask you: if only a hundred or so people in a community of 5,000-10,000 are participating, there’s a problem. And the issues around The George Marine Hotel & Residences, Target Marine and the like is where this problem surfaces.

Official Community Plan - possible to agree?

When all a community hears is ‘no’ that’s when the broom comes out, and even the moderate voices are gone in a push for the pendulum’s swing the other way. That’s why we have the councils we have at this point in time, and everyone brought them here, even those – or I might venture, especially those – who did not vote for them.

I see a lot of really provocative conversation around both of these initiatives/issues, much of it so uncivil it beggars description (and that on both sides). It’s time we start looking at each other with compassion, a desire for understanding, and curiosity, rather than judgement and condemnation.

At the end of the day, we have elected – for better or worse – the councils who represent us in our communities. We all get our chance to have a say, and then council and town staff determine the best course of action. In my idealized reality, democratic process would be supported, leading to one of two scenarios: a project is green-lit, or a project is stalled. I expect whoever is on the opposing tack on an issue to cede to the weight of majority as expressed in who is sitting in council seats. I accepted what went on in Sechelt for near a decade, even though it wasn’t to my liking. I waited until there was an opportunity to change, and availed myself of it. And I accept the bad with the good, as I did with the previous council.

The first order of business for OCPs in our community should be modernizing how all stakeholders can engage and interact with each other in the process using the innovative technology of our modern age.


George Marine Hotel & Residences
Gibsons OCP
Town of Gibsons
Town of Gibsons Update on The George Jan 21/14
Gibsons Gold
Gibsons Alliance
George Hotel on Facebook
Town of Gibsons on Facebook
Dr. Dorothy Riddle’s report: Analysis of the Probable Economic Impact of The George Hotel and Residences on the Town of Gibsons
George Hotel’s Economic Impact Information

Target Marine / Northern Divine Caviar
District of Sechelt
Sechelt OCP
Audio of Public Hearing Feb. 5/14 OCP and Bylaw Amendments re Target Marine


About the Author

About the Author: Geek-loving, tie-dyed creative time artisan and general rabble rouser. Passionate conduit of Sunshine Coast stories, myths and fables. Also the original Bad Dog in Bad Dog Design Web Design & Marketing. .

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3 Reader Comments

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  1. Bet says:

    Thank you!!! I very, very much appreciate your posting the links that give a variety of perspectives on this issue. I believe that it is what is needed (and civil respectful/dialogue) and quite frankly what the town of Gibsons ought to be providing in one fashion or another.
    Although we could certainly spend time debating/discussing a number of things that you have said (and maybe we will) I am overwhelmingly grateful for your efforts-others ought to be as well and I hope that all who are interested in this issue will take the time to read ALL the info and think about it/assess it/think about the reliability /sources of information/think aobut long term etc .
    I hear your point about using modern technology more…probably a good idea…although, in the end, somehow, citizens need to be willing to make the effort to understand the issues-however the facts/opinions are delivered-and ,yes, make it as accessible and efficient as possible..
    thank you again

  2. Laurie McConnell says:

    Thanks for the comment, Bet. If there’s any other links you have seen floating around that are relevant and/or overlooked, please send them to me via so I can review them and add them to the story. Hopefully folks will include info that doesn’t just fit their view, but everything out there connected to the issues.

    Although this is not a negation of the Gibsons OCP or even specifically about it or the bylaw hearing in Sechelt regarding Target Marine. It’s about why are we not stopping the OCP consultative process at the outset and finding ways to get a strong participation percentage from our communities. None of us should be content with a solution that doesn’t look like it has heard from the vast majority of residents, taxpayers and yes, even outside commenters who may come from any perspective ‘pro or con’ and have a meaningful contribution to make.

    What if we each had to buddy up with someone holding a diametrically opposite viewpoint and express the other’s feedback and concerns rather than our own? And if civility, compromise, and passion for facilitating a truly community-reflective document were rewarded in some way?

    That would be truly innovative, challenging, compassionate of others’ viewpoints. Then everyone has to commit to the document that comes out of that process, create a mechanism for dealing with proposed changes (it is a living document), and always bring their ‘buddy’ with them. What if we were just curious about what the ‘other’ thinks rather than dismissive or my way or the highway?

  3. Laurie McConnell says:

    Bet had another response but had trouble logging back in on this thread, so here it is:

    “oh interesting idea Laurie…quite like it…and my, what a challenge that could be!! talk about a growth edge…lol…love it…it is in fact, exactly what the world needs…..tho I think there might be some non negotiable bottom lines that would impede any progress, most/many things can be negotiated if framed well and folks listen/speak respectfully…great idea…and I really appreciate your putting yourself and your ideas out there.”

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