In collaboration with local, provincial, and federal government staff, and public consultation, the CRD adopted its first Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) in 2003. This RGS was amended in 2007 and 2016. A full review and update of the RGS was then completed and adopted in 2018.

The RGS provides policy guidance on when a municipal council or the CRD may initiate an amendment to the RGS. The policy recognizes that municipalities and the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area will update their Official Community Plans (OCPs) over the RGS's 20-year planning horizon. Such OCP updates help implement the RGS and signal the need for RGS amendments to meet a community's housing, commercial, industrial, institutional, agricultural, recreational and public utility needs.

Current State

Several municipalities are undertaking reviews and updates to their OCPs. CRD staff are working collaboratively to provide input into OCP updates and monitor new policy direction. The CRD Board will consider any resulting changes to municipal and regional context statements and will determine whether an RGS amendment is needed as part of the five-year review of the RGS.

The Board is not currently considering any regional context statements.

More information on updates and amendments, including links to relevant studies and reports, can be found below.

RGS Update - Preparing the 2018 RGS

Starting in 2011, the CRD undertook the review process for updating the RGS in four phases. An updated RGS was adopted in 2018.

Update Process

Phase 4 (2017–2018): Adoption

The CRD and participating municipalities undertook a non-binding mediation process to settle disputed RGS provisions. Non-binding mediation sessions occurred on December 6 and 7, 2017 and generated solutions to all disputed provisions. In January 2018, the CRD referred the revised RGS bylaw to municipalities for acceptance as per section 439 of the Act; by March 2018, all municipalities resolved to accept the revised RGS.

The CRD Board adopted the updated RGS bylaw following acceptance by all municipalities and endorsement of the RGS by the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director.

Phase 3 (2016–2017): Bylaw

A draft RGS was completed, and the CRD Board invited municipal councils and the Juan de Fuca (JdF) Land Use Committee (LUC) to provide comments on the draft 2016 RGS document through an informal referral. The purpose of the referral was to identify any issues that could stand in the way of RGS acceptance.

The Committee of the Whole received input from 12 municipalities and the JdF LUC as part of the informal referral. The predominant themes raised in the referral were: growth management, water servicing and suggestions for clarifying and expanding upon the draft RGS document. The Committee directed staff to revise the draft 2016 RGS document as follows:

  • Integrate a section on food and agriculture
  • Integrate a section describing municipalities
  • Integrate water servicing criteria
  • Provide for climate action as the overarching objective of the RGS
  • Edit the document to improve clarity and comprehensiveness

The CRD Board gave the first and second readings to the RGS bylaw (Bylaw 4017).

The CRD Board approved the public hearing plan for Bylaw 4017.

The CRD Board held a public hearing for the RGS Bylaw on October 19, 2016.

The CRD Board directed minor changes to the RGS Bylaw in response to Public Hearing input and referred the Bylaw for municipal acceptance as required by legislation.

The CRD Board received decisions not to accept the RGS from seven municipalities (Central Saanich, Colwood, Esquimalt, Highlands, North Saanich, Saanich and View Royal). Decisions to not accept the RGS triggered the dispute resolution process as required by legislation.

Phase 2 (2014–2015): Draft Document

The CRD Planning, Transportation and Protective Services Committee directed staff to prepare a draft policy document (at that time considered a Regional Sustainability Strategy (RSS)) in collaboration with stakeholders.

The CRD Board received a draft RSS document and directed staff to consult widely on the document.

An updated vision and targets, including possible targets for expanded content in a Regional Sustainability Strategy, were presented for public review and comment in early 2015.

Results from public consultation indicated strong support for the proposed targets and for advancing regional coordination on transportation-related topics; rural character and agriculture; compact, complete communities; climate action; and ecosystem protection.

The CRD Board affirmed the need for an RGS document (more focused than the RSS) with solid growth management policies that do not use water servicing as a growth management tool.

The CRD Board directed that the RGS document be updated to meet legislative requirements.

Phase 1 (2011–2013): Research and Policy Options

The CRD began a mandated review of the 2003 Regional Growth Strategy by conducting background research and developing policy options.

The following reports and studies informed the review and update process: