Vancouver to create new city-wide Official Development Plan by 2026

Following the provincial government’s recent legislation directing the City of Vancouver to create its first-ever city-wide Official Development Plan (ODP), a new path forward to meet the added requirements to the Vancouver Charter has been identified by City staff.

In a new report to Vancouver City Council, City staff state they will move to prepare an initial city-wide ODP for adoption by June 2026. This will then lead to the second legislated deadline of requiring the municipal government to turn that ODP or another version into the permanent city-wide ODP by June 2030.

Once adopted, the ODP is expected to have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years, before a new planning process is considered for major updates.

The ODP will be very similar to the Official Community Plans (OCP) required by the provincial government for other municipalities in British Columbia under the separate Local Government Act.

Both ODPs and OCPs provide a long-term vision and guide for urban and transportation planning, land use, growth, rezoning, development, bylaws, and other regulations and policies. The City of Vancouver is calling its legal city-wide plan an ODP as it has more powers and authority than jurisdictions under the Local Government Act.

The legislation will require the City’s ODP to include aspects such as:

  • Residential development to meet 20-year anticipated housing needs
  • Commercial, industrial, institutional, agricultural, recreational, public utility land uses
  • Restrictions for hazardous conditions or environmentally sensitive areas
  • Location and phasing of major road, sewer and water systems
  • Location and type of present and proposed public facilities: schools, parks and waste treatment and disposal sites
  • Policies for affordable housing, rental housing and special needs housing
  • Targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and policies/actions to achieve targets
  • Consider the most recent provincially mandated housing needs report
  • Regional Context Statement

As required by the provincial government, moving forward, the City of Vancouver will not hold a public hearing on a rezoning application if the proposal is consistent with the ODP, and its sole purpose is to permit a development with at least 50% residential gross building floor area.

For the process to create the ODP, the City will not be starting from scratch. The July 2022-approved Vancouver Plan will be used as the basis and foundation of the ODP.

“The current Vancouver Plan comprises a significant amount of the final content anticipated to be included in the Vancouver ODP and will be supplemented with additional content as needed to meet Provincial legislative requirements,” reads the City staff report.

The Vancouver Plan — a visioning document — was created after a planning and public consultation process that lasted for about three years, carrying a cost of about $9 million. City staff have noted that the costs of the forthcoming ODP planning process will be covered under existing departmental operating budgets, without requiring new funding for the exercise.

Prior to the new provincial legislation requiring an ODP, there were already plans to turn the Vancouver Plan into a legal document, with an eventual goal to use the document as the foundation for creating an OCP.

The first major step of the Vancouver Plan remains the creation of the new area plan for the combined areas around SkyTrain’s Rupert Station and Renfrew Station in East Vancouver — an area plan similar to the Broadway Plan and Cambie Plan exercises. City staff are expected to present a draft Rupert and Renfrew Station Area Plan this summer, before sending it to City Council for finalization and approval before the end of 2024.

City staff note the ODP will not replace any area plans, which will still be required to provide more detailed direction for future lan use and development in specific districts and neighbourhoods.