What is a Regional Growth Strategy?

    The Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) is a strategic plan enabled by the Local Government Act (LGA) that provides an overarching planning framework for coordinating the activities of local governments and the provincial government.

    It considers transit, housing, parks, economic development and environmental issues from a regional perspective with the goal of creating healthy, sustainable communities. As a long-range vision with a 20 to 30 year scope, it aims to ensure the region as a whole is working toward a common future. Regional growth strategies support the management of issues that affect more than one jurisdiction and can perform the following functions (among others):

    • Promote coordination among municipalities and regional districts on issues that cross jurisdictional boundaries;
    • Promote coordination among municipalities, regional districts and Indigenous communities as a means of establishing and maintaining meaningful and collaborative relationships;
    • Strengthen links between regional districts and the provincial ministries and agencies whose resources are needed to carry out projects and programs; and,
    • Communicate the region’s strengths to potential investors while demonstrating that local governments, Indigenous communities and stakeholders are proactively addressing the key issues affecting the region’s future.

    What does a Regional Growth Strategy NOT do?

    The FVRD’s RGS is NOT a land use plan. The intent of the RGS is to provide for a common vision for the entire region through the goals set out in the plan. The RGS does not regulate land use within member municipalities. Rather, the municipalities define how they are working towards the goals of the RGS within their “Regional Context Statement” in their Official Community Plans.

    Does the FVRD currently have a Regional Growth Strategy?

    Yes, the Choices for our Future RGS, adopted in 2004. The RGS update was undertaken to reassess and adjust the region’s long-term vision and objectives in light of new legislation, evolving relationships with indigenous communities and agencies, new growth, and changing demographics.

    How is the Regional Growth Strategy implemented?

    There are a number of ways the goals, objectives and policies of the RGS are implemented:

    • Municipal Context Statements: Each member municipality has to prepare a context statement within its Official Community Plan that highlights how it is working towards the objectives of the RGS. To learn more about each municipality’s OCP and/or context statement, visit the City of Abbotsford, the City of Chilliwack, the City of Mission, the District of Hope, the District of Kent and the Village of Harrison Hot Springs.
    • Regional District Land Use Policies in electoral areas: Part 13 of the Local Government Act requires that all bylaws adopted by the regional district and all services undertaken must be consistent with the RGS.
    • Implementation Agreements: An implementation agreement is a partnership agreement between a regional district and other levels of government, their agencies or other bodies, which spells out the details of how certain aspects of a regional growth strategy will be carried out.

    Has there been Indigenous engagement?

    The RGS puts forward a framework for collaboration and further strengthens relationships in the FVRD. Valuable feedback was received on the first draft and we want to make sure we are moving in the right direction. The FVRD recognizes and respects autonomy and self-governance of local Indigenous organizations as they work to strengthen their communities and realize their visions for the future.

    FVRD staff will be reaching out to Indigenous communities and agencies to determine the preferred nature of engagement. The intent is to build upon existing relationships and to build relationships where none are currently in place.

    Are First Nations Reserves subject to the RGS or the Agricultural Land Reserve Act?

    First Nations reserves are not subject to the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) or the Agricultural Land Commission Act.

    Does an RGS require provincial approval?

    Regional growth strategies do not require provincial approval, but formal acceptance is required from "affected local governments”, which consist of member municipalities and adjacent regional districts. Acceptance is by resolution of each local government.

    How is the RGS adopted?

    Once a final draft is completed and undergone Board, Intergovernmental Advisory Committee and legal review, an amendment bylaw will go forward to the FVRD Board. As required by the Act, before 3rd Reading, the bylaw will be formally referred to member municipalities and adjacent regional districts (“affected local governments”) for formal acceptance by resolution. Once accepted, the bylaw can be adopted by the Board.

    What is a regional context statement

    Once an RGS or major update is formally adopted, member municipalities must update their official community plans (OCP) within two years with regional context statements (RCS).

    A regional context statement must specifically identify the relationship between the official community plan and the required content for regional growth strategy and any other regional matters included in the RGS.  If a current OCP is not consistent, the RCS can describe how the OCP will be made consistent with the RGS over time. This is to ensure OCPs and the RGS are consistent.