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Town of Smithers Official Community Plan

2021-2022 | Smithers, BC

It had been 12 years since the Town of Smithers updated its Official Community Plan (OCP) and Zoning Bylaw and the community had grown significantly. The Town maintained a strong mountain town identity and sense of place but wanted future growth to be managed by an OCP that respected the character and needs of Smithers.  

McElhanney worked with the Town of Smithers for just over a year to update the OCP and Zoning Bylaw. Together, the two groups built a variety of engagement tools to gather public input for the future development of the Town. The consultation process kept community well-being and equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) at the forefront. Ease of access to public engagement opportunities was also a priority. 

Two primary digital engagement tools were used. First, an Esri StoryMap presented an overview of the public engagement schedule, outlined specific meeting times for the public, included information about the development plan and processes, and provided access to key documents. Second, a public, crowdsourced, geographic information system (GIS) StoryMap site was developed for interested parties to interact with. The site was hosted through McElhanney’s Vertisee platform. Visitors to the site could pinpoint the location of their concerns and offer suggestions. Surveys were included in the StoryMaps to further support the engagement process. 

Planners used feedback gathered from public engagement to rewrite both the OCP and Zoning Bylaw with a focus on housing diversity and the reduction and streamlining of bylaws for ease of administration. The rewritten OCP and Zoning Bylaws addressed growth and infrastructure, housing, natural environment and climate change, and community character. The final OCP was adopted on October 11, 2022, and was shared with the community through a mix of in-person and online engagement. 

Learn more about the scope of our digital public engagement services here. 


McElhanney provided:

  • Planning policy development  
  • Digital public engagement  
  • Mapping and GIS  
  • Branding and communications  
  • Council presentations and reporting
The Town of Smithers OCP included their Main Street shopping district
Town of Smithers Mayor and Council engagement
The Town of Smithers OCP considered the community's vibrant Main Street