City Launches Update Of OCP On Canada Day

Submitted. The Abbotsforward project was launched at Tuesday’s Canada Day celebrations, Mayor Bruce Banman announced Monday.

Abbotsforward is the City of Abbotsford’s Official Community Plan (OCP) update project,
and will provide opportunities over the next 18 months for residents to have direct input on
how Abbotsford will grow and develop as a community in coming years.

Shriners participate in Canada Day parade Tuesday – Photo Win Wachsman

“The new OCP will guide how future development occurs in different areas of our City as our
population continues to expand – which makes the Abbotsforward project extremely relevant
and important for everyone in this community,” said Banman. “The OCP includes guidelines
on where parks and trails will be located, where different densities of housing will be located,
how transit and active transportation opportunities will expand, and how commercial,
industrial and agricultural development will be supported – all of which has an impact on
how we live, work and play in our community.”

Abbotsford’s new Official Community Plan will be integrated with other community
strategies, including transportation plans, sustainability plans, and waste management
plans, which supports a coordinated approach to development in the City. This Plan will be
the most important policy Council will approve to guide our city’s future.

“To me, the importance of the Abbotsforward project can be illustrated by simply asking two
questions,” said Banman. “’Can you imagine what living in Abbotsford will be like in the
future?’ and, ‘What if I told you, you can be a part of shaping that future?’ – which is exactly
what the Abbotsforward project is all about.”

The Abbotsforward team’s community engagement activities will kick off on July 1st during
the Canada Day celebrations at Rotary Stadium during the afternoon. Residents are
encouraged to stop by with their family members and learn how they can become involved
with the Abbotsforward project at this beginning stage. There will be opportunities at the
Abbotsforward booth for kids to draw how they see the future of the City, as well as
information on how residents can participate in the Picturing Your City photo activity,
showing us what they like, dislike and wish for.

Full information on the Abbotsforward project can be found at:
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What is an Official Community Plan?
An Official Community Plan (OCP) is a document adopted by City Council that provides
a 20-25 year vision for the community by setting out how growth and development will
occur as the population expands. An OCP provides a long term-framework for how the
land in a City can be utilized or developed within neighbourhoods, districts and sections,
which ultimately has an impact on how people live, work and play in the community.

Under the Province of BC’s Local Government Act section 875, OCPs must include
statements and map designations for:

  • the approximate location, amount, type and density of residential development
  • required to meet anticipated housing needs over a period of at least five years;
  •  the approximate location, amount and type of present and proposed commercial,
  • industrial, institutional, agricultural, recreational and public utility land uses;
  • the approximate location and area of sand and gravel deposits that are suitable
  • for future sand and gravel extraction;
  • restrictions on the use of land that is subject to hazardous conditions or that is
  • environmentally sensitive to development;
  • the approximate location and phasing of any major road, sewer and water
  • systems;
  •  the approximate location and type of present and proposed public facilities,
  • including schools, parks and waste treatment and disposal sites;
  • housing policies of the local government respecting affordable housing, rental
  • housing and special needs housing; and,
  • targets for the reduction of greehouse gas emissions in the area covered by the
  • plan, and policies and actions of the local government proposed with respect to
  • achieving those targets.

Why is the City initiating the Abbotsforward project?
Abbotsford’s current OCP was last updated in 2005 and, at that time, provided a
framework that facilitated growth in a very flexible way across the City. Over time, that
flexibility has resulted in residents not having a clear understanding of how their
neighbourhood will look in the future, developers not being able to accurately value their
buildings and projects, and challenges for the City in being able to provide efficient and
effective services as growth continues.

The update of the OCP is intended to resolve some of that uncertainty by providing
residents, developers and the City with greater clarity about how growth will occur and
support a coordinate approach to development as our community continues to grow

Who needs to be involved with Abbotsforward?
The updated OCP will have an impact on how we all live, work and play in Abbotsford as
our community continues to grow, so it is important for all residents to have an
opportunity to provide their input.

The Abbotsforward project provides residents with a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity
to provide input into how Abbotsford will grow and develop in the future. The updated
OCP will become a legacy and catalyst document for our community and will shape how
future generations interact with places and spaces in Abbotsford far into the future.

How can residents become involved?
There are several opportunities for community involvement over the life of the project.
Right now there are two ways to become involved with the project:

1. Apply to become a member of the Citizen Advisory Commission. The Citizen
Advisory Commission will help with community engagement, review land use policy,
and give feedback on new planning ideas to help shape Abbotsford’s future.
2. Residents can submit a photo of things they like, dislike, and hope for in Abbotsford
through the Picturing Your City photo activity. People who submit photos will be
entered in a random


When will residents be able to provide feedback on a first draft of the updated

The Abbotsforward project will occur in 4 phases:

Residents will be able to participate throughout the process, with new concept

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