South Okanagan Regional Growth Strategy (RGS)

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Our Vision: South Okanagan residents value and celebrate living in a sustainable regional that balances environmental, social and economic considerations with a high quality of life and strong sense of community.

The South Okanagan Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) is a shared growth and sustainability vision that provides guidance to the Regional District and the member municipalities and electoral areas located within the South Okanagan over a 20-year horizon. These communities include:


  • RDOS Electoral Areas: “A”, “C”, “D”, “E”, “F”, and “I”
  • Municipalities of Osoyoos, Oliver, Penticton and Summerland

An RGS contains regional level policies that are implemented in Official Community Plans, Infrastructure Plans, regulatory tools such as Zoning Bylaws, and sometimes in regional action plans on various topics.

The Regional District of the South Okanagan is updating the Regional Growth Strategy to better reflect changes that have occurred over the last five years.



What does the RGS provide guidance on?

Regional Growth Strategies identify key geographic areas of urban and rural growth. A focus on select areas will help to inform decision making when it comes to things like service delivery or infrastructure.

The South Okanagan RGS is comprised of seven policy areas, which include their supporting goals, objectives and policies (the current RGS can be found here). These policy areas ensure social, economic, and environmental sustainability for all partner communities for years to come.

Our Seven Policy Areas:

  1. Housing and Development
  2. Ecosystems, Natural Areas and Parks
  3. Infrastructure and Transportation
  4. Community Health and Well-being
  5. Regional Economic Development
  6. Engagement and Collaboration
  7. Energy Emissions and Climate Change


What does “managing growth” mean? Why do we do it? What’s the importance of this Strategy?

Managing growth means to have a focused plan that outlines both primary (urban) and secondary (rural) settlement areas that will see a higher level of service delivery and investment. By managing growth, we can better serve our communities in the long-run by avoiding things like sprawl – which is both fiscally and environmentally unsound. To learn more about primary and rural growths areas, take a look at our FAQs.

The growth areas will allow for a higher quality of life amongst South Okanagan residents, with benefits such as:

  • reduced commute times
  • reduced GHG emissions
  • more compact communities that promote walkability and active modes of transport (cycling, transit)
  • the protection of natural ecosystems and agricultural lands
  • lower municipal costs as the need to extend infrastructure services to undeveloped areas is diminished


Our Process

Over the next year, RDOS staff will work with a team of consultants to update the strategy. This project comprises three phases of work. There will be both community and stakeholder engagement throughout this process to help inform the amendments.



Phase 1: Review & Understand. The initial phase of the project will help to generate an understanding of the current situation in the South Okanagan through conversations with RDOS staff, planning staff from each of the member municipalities, and the Regional Board, as well as an analysis of South Okanagan historic and projected demographic trends.

Phase 2: Policy Updates. The second phase of the project will entail discussions on topics such as Rural Growth Areas, OCP consistency with the RGS, and current region-wide subjects such as affordable housing and RGS implementation. Electronic COVID friendly-public consultation opportunities will be available.

Phase 3: Final Review & Adoption. The final phase will aim to identify action items for implementing the policy direction outlined in the RGS. At this point, the proposed amendments will be incorporated into the existing RGS and made available to the public. The amendments will be presented to the Regional Board for adoption at the end of this phase.


Project Engagement

This project will be informed by engaging with stakeholder groups and community members of the South Okanagan. Engagement will take the form of:

  1. Technical Advisory Committee (TAC): Comprised of relevant staff from the member municipalities, the TAC will meet frequently over the course of this project to ensure that all member communities agree with the updates and direction for the strategy.
  1. Community Members: Residents within the member municipalities and electoral areas will be engaged during project. Online engagement opportunities through this site and on WebEx in accordance with physical distancing requirements set out by the province and through the Regional Connections engagement platform. Stay tuned for upcoming dates to engage!
  1. Regional Board: The Planning and Development Committee, comprised of Area Directors for the electoral areas, will be engaged during the review and update RGS project. The final draft RGS bylaw will be brought to the Board as part of the bylaw adoption process.
  1. Member Municipal Councils: The project team will present to member municipal Councils virtually at the mid-point of the project to provide context on the update, what has been done so far, and the proposed direction.


History of the RDOS’ Regional Growth Strategy:

The South Okanagan RGS was first adopted by the RDOS Board in 2010 after several years of planning, collaboration and consultation. It was later updated through minor amendment processes in 2011 and 2017. Provincial legislation requires any regional district with an RGS to consider whether an RGS review is required once every five years. Since the Board adopted the RGS in 2010 and initiated a minor review in 2015 (resulting in the 2017 minor amendment), 2020 is considered a suitable review year as per the legislation.




Our Vision: South Okanagan residents value and celebrate living in a sustainable regional that balances environmental, social and economic considerations with a high quality of life and strong sense of community.

The South Okanagan Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) is a shared growth and sustainability vision that provides guidance to the Regional District and the member municipalities and electoral areas located within the South Okanagan over a 20-year horizon. These communities include:


  • RDOS Electoral Areas: “A”, “C”, “D”, “E”, “F”, and “I”
  • Municipalities of Osoyoos, Oliver, Penticton and Summerland

An RGS contains regional level policies that are implemented in Official Community Plans, Infrastructure Plans, regulatory tools such as Zoning Bylaws, and sometimes in regional action plans on various topics.

The Regional District of the South Okanagan is updating the Regional Growth Strategy to better reflect changes that have occurred over the last five years.



What does the RGS provide guidance on?

Regional Growth Strategies identify key geographic areas of urban and rural growth. A focus on select areas will help to inform decision making when it comes to things like service delivery or infrastructure.

The South Okanagan RGS is comprised of seven policy areas, which include their supporting goals, objectives and policies (the current RGS can be found here). These policy areas ensure social, economic, and environmental sustainability for all partner communities for years to come.

Our Seven Policy Areas:

  1. Housing and Development
  2. Ecosystems, Natural Areas and Parks
  3. Infrastructure and Transportation
  4. Community Health and Well-being
  5. Regional Economic Development
  6. Engagement and Collaboration
  7. Energy Emissions and Climate Change


What does “managing growth” mean? Why do we do it? What’s the importance of this Strategy?

Managing growth means to have a focused plan that outlines both primary (urban) and secondary (rural) settlement areas that will see a higher level of service delivery and investment. By managing growth, we can better serve our communities in the long-run by avoiding things like sprawl – which is both fiscally and environmentally unsound. To learn more about primary and rural growths areas, take a look at our FAQs.

The growth areas will allow for a higher quality of life amongst South Okanagan residents, with benefits such as:

  • reduced commute times
  • reduced GHG emissions
  • more compact communities that promote walkability and active modes of transport (cycling, transit)
  • the protection of natural ecosystems and agricultural lands
  • lower municipal costs as the need to extend infrastructure services to undeveloped areas is diminished


Our Process

Over the next year, RDOS staff will work with a team of consultants to update the strategy. This project comprises three phases of work. There will be both community and stakeholder engagement throughout this process to help inform the amendments.



Phase 1: Review & Understand. The initial phase of the project will help to generate an understanding of the current situation in the South Okanagan through conversations with RDOS staff, planning staff from each of the member municipalities, and the Regional Board, as well as an analysis of South Okanagan historic and projected demographic trends.

Phase 2: Policy Updates. The second phase of the project will entail discussions on topics such as Rural Growth Areas, OCP consistency with the RGS, and current region-wide subjects such as affordable housing and RGS implementation. Electronic COVID friendly-public consultation opportunities will be available.

Phase 3: Final Review & Adoption. The final phase will aim to identify action items for implementing the policy direction outlined in the RGS. At this point, the proposed amendments will be incorporated into the existing RGS and made available to the public. The amendments will be presented to the Regional Board for adoption at the end of this phase.


Project Engagement

This project will be informed by engaging with stakeholder groups and community members of the South Okanagan. Engagement will take the form of:

  1. Technical Advisory Committee (TAC): Comprised of relevant staff from the member municipalities, the TAC will meet frequently over the course of this project to ensure that all member communities agree with the updates and direction for the strategy.
  1. Community Members: Residents within the member municipalities and electoral areas will be engaged during project. Online engagement opportunities through this site and on WebEx in accordance with physical distancing requirements set out by the province and through the Regional Connections engagement platform. Stay tuned for upcoming dates to engage!
  1. Regional Board: The Planning and Development Committee, comprised of Area Directors for the electoral areas, will be engaged during the review and update RGS project. The final draft RGS bylaw will be brought to the Board as part of the bylaw adoption process.
  1. Member Municipal Councils: The project team will present to member municipal Councils virtually at the mid-point of the project to provide context on the update, what has been done so far, and the proposed direction.


History of the RDOS’ Regional Growth Strategy:

The South Okanagan RGS was first adopted by the RDOS Board in 2010 after several years of planning, collaboration and consultation. It was later updated through minor amendment processes in 2011 and 2017. Provincial legislation requires any regional district with an RGS to consider whether an RGS review is required once every five years. Since the Board adopted the RGS in 2010 and initiated a minor review in 2015 (resulting in the 2017 minor amendment), 2020 is considered a suitable review year as per the legislation.




Page published: 14 December 2020, 09:43