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General News · 13th June 2011
Daniel Fretts
Spin Doctors and The Case of the Missing Cortes Official Community Plan Draft #2.

Hello, if you are someone who cares about your official community plan, you may wonder why it has gone missing. Apparently the second draft from Focus Corp has been returned to the regional district some weeks ago. Why has it not arrived for public review yet?

The OCP draft #1 was fired back, like an overcooked meal, to the kitchen of the urban planning wizards at Focus Corp. The refurbished draft was to return to the island, reinvented as draft # 2, a better, brighter version of itself. But instead of being served back to the island to be tasted by the public, it has taken a side trip and is being re cooked by the regional district planners and the OCP steering committee. There, unseen hands with an unknown agenda can shape public policy, out of view of the prying eyes of the "ornery" Cortes public. Is this the best recipe for creating an OCP democratically with meaningful consultation?

But wait - the steering committee is a hand picked group of public citizens intended to guide process, not edit content. Our regional director informs us in her March 31 update that the Regional District and OCP steering committee will "edit and proof Draft #2 and prepare it for release to the Cortes community." Since when did the steering committee become an editor of OCP content outside of the public consultation process? Incidentally this was to happen in April, along with formal consultation with First Nations. So where has the formal consultation with First Nations gone? Is it missing in action along with the missing OCP draft #2?

I don't think it is any consolation that our regional director offers the open-ended commitment that "I will not support the revised OCP going to the SRD board for consideration or to public hearing until I think we have achieved the best product that we can reasonably achieve." (what is best and what is reasonable, and to whose ends?) and then asks in return "that we do our best to deliver a good draft by the end of June, and that we do so with an open and curious mind." (bold added). My mind is curious indeed. What became of the original unedited OCP draft #2?

Hello, regional director and regional planning staff, please do not tamper with the OCP draft #2 in secret, outside of public scrutiny. Bring it out into the open where the community it is meant to serve can see it, and shape it into the living, breathing document with the public consultation you promised.