Regional Growth Strategy Review & Update

The CRD adopted its first Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) in 2003. Provincial legislation requires that regional districts review an adopted RGS every five years. The CRD undertook the review process in four phases, in collaboration with local, provincial and federal government staff. An updated RGS was adopted in 2018.

Update Process

Phase 1: Research and Policy Options

2011 – 2013

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

The following reports and studies were prepared to inform the review and update process:

Phase 2: Draft Document

2014 – 2015

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

The CRD Board receives a draft RSS document and directs 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 topics related to: transportation; rural character and agriculture; compact, complete communities; climate action; and ecosystem protection.

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

The CRD Board directs that the RGS document be updated for consistency with legislative requirements.

Phase 3: Bylaw

2016 – 2017

The CRD Board invites 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 is to identify any issues that could stand in the way of RGS acceptance.

The Committee of the Whole receives input from 12 municipalities and the JdF LUC as part of the informal referral. The predominant themes raised in the referral are: growth management, water servicing and suggestions for clarifying and expanding upon the draft RGS document. The Committee directs 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 gives first and second reading to the RGS bylaw (Bylaw 4017).

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

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

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

The CRD Board receives 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 triggers the dispute resolution process as required by legislation.

Phase 4: Adoption

2017 - 2018

The CRD and participating municipalities undertook a non-binding mediation process to settle disputed RGS provisions. Non-binding mediation sessions were held 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 adopts the updated RGS bylaw, following acceptance by all municipalities and endorsement of the RGS by the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director.