Fall! Another municipal election has come and gone, leaving Lillooetans in peace to fill their wood sheds, rake their magnificently coloured leaves, peer thoughtfully through the now-tolerable haze of smoke at the slant of autumn light on our gorgeous surroundings, and… fire up their sawzalls, pull out their wrecking bars, and gut their homes’ interiors. For the past year and a half, the din has been especially loud and persistent.
Over the past few years Lillooet has begun to feel the pressure driven by ludicrous home prices in the Lower Mainland and its surroundings, as people from these areashave begun entering the community to take advantage of its affordability and beauty. Lillooet is growing and changing, and the new constructions that dot Main Street and neighborhoods throughout the community serve as constant reminders of this fact.
It is into this context that our newly elected councilors and mayor find themselves placed: a community experiencing a period of strong growth and significant change that will persist for some time. One of their first major undertakings this fall will be to reopen the Official Community Plan, a document last revised in 2008, when - wait for it -“…recent forays into grape production” were described as among this region’s agricultural offerings. “…recent forays…”.
Yes, it’s been a while.
As I described in a January “Vocal Local,” the plan requires us, as a community, to collaborate and define our vision of success. At its core are a community vision statement and 14 goals that were developed on the basis of recommendations from Lillooetans in 2007. While they were well written enough at this time to serve into the future, opening them to discussion, re-evaluation, and revisal by the community will ensure their continued relevance as a framework from which to hang planning.
And there is something for everyone in the plan, which is available from the District of Lillooet’s civic web site. Are you interested in seeing particular frameworks provide affordable housing within our community? There’s a section for that. Is seeing Main Street’s visual aesthetic continue to improve important to you? There’s a section for that.
In a sense, the reopening of the Official Community Plan is another opportunity to vote for policies that are important to us. However, unlike the voting of the recent election, in which our votes elect those who approximately represent the ideas we value, the revisal of the community plan is a chance to “vote” for exactly those policies that are most important to us by advocating for their inclusion in the OCP over the coming months.
So put your dreaming hats on, Lillooetans! There are opportunities coming to try to get your community moving forward in the ways that are most important to you, so be sure to look for the coming town halls. If nothing else, it’s a good excuse to step away from sanding your newly installed drywall for an evening.