Among other suggestions, Eliza Stanford asked council to encourage developers to make use of architects instead of engineers.

“Architects can create a sense of place and Fort St. John needs that in its downtown area. We need a reason for people to come downtown.”

She also added that downtown should be zoned for mixed use, with both residences and businesses.

Before okaying the bylaw, Councillor Lori Ackerman brought up a statement on page 46 of the OCP, which states that any proposed boundary extension may only occur if “80 per cent infill of specific land use… has occurred and…  there is a vacancy rate of less than 5 per cent within existing builds”, asking what that will do to land prices within the city.

City Planner Kevin Brooks explains the OCP “would give us a threshold or trigger as to why we’d choose to consider extension again. If it came to a point where our industrial land was 80 per cent full, it gives us that ability to then look and go ‘okay, do we now need more industrial land?’, and if so, then we could proceed with the extension process.”

Brooks says right now the city is at approximately 60 – 65 per cent residential infill, but added that many of the remaining greenfields within the city are slated for residential development within the next 10 – 15 years. Commercial areas are around 60 per cent and industrial areas are around 55 per cent. He says the policy is to set a clear target and solid justification for expansion.

Councillor Trevor Bolin agreed that it’s important not to open up other areas before existing ones are at capacity, citing empty buildings downtown.

“I think this plan will protect the integrity of the development in our city, and I think that’s going to be huge.”

Council thanked both the engineering department that created the department as well a the public who came out and submitted their input on the plan. Councillor Trevor Bolin added, “it means a lot sitting on this side of the table that that many people were involved in creating a document that’s going to outlay our city for a long time, so thank you very much.”