What is a Regional Growth Strategy (RGS)?

    An RGS is a long-term land use planning policy document that is coordinated by regional districts for its member municipalities. The Local Government Act gives regional districts the authority to adopt a regional growth strategy to guide decisions on growth, change, and development, under section 429. It is developed collaboratively and addresses issues such as housing, transportation, environment, economic development and more. It provides long-range (20+ years) planning direction that ensures regional sustainability with a main emphasis on avoiding urban sprawl.    

    What communities are included within this Regional Growth Strategy?

    The South Okanagan RGS encompasses the southern portion of the Okanagan Valley and includes RDOS Electoral Areas “A”, “C”, “D”, “E”, “F”, and “I” as well as the municipalities of Osoyoos, Oliver, Penticton and Summerland.

    What does a Regional Growth Strategy do?

    An RGS provides policies to direct population growth and to promote human settlement in the South Okanagan for the next 20 years. It promotes regional coordination on issues associated with growth such as water, sewer and solid waste, for example, to support the envisioned growth strategy.

    What does a Regional Growth Strategy NOT do?

    An RGS can not regulate land use within member municipalities and electoral areas, as local governments are given the authority to regulate land use through the use of tools such as official community plans, zoning bylaws, development permits, temporary use permits, and development variance permits in divisions 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9 of the Local Government Act, respectively.

    How is an RGS Implemented?

    The RGS is implemented within each community through local Official Community Plans, infrastructure plans, and regulatory tools such as zoning bylaws.

    How often is an RGS reviewed?

    The Local Government Act requires any regional district with an RGS to consider an update once every five years. The RDOS adopted the RGS in 2010 and initiated a minor review in 2015, 2020 in considered a suitable time for an additional review.

    What’s the difference between an OCP and an RGS?

    An Official Community Plan (OCP) is a high-level planning document created by a municipality or electoral area to define its long-term goals and plans for growth. A Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) provides a regional framework to ensure there is compatibility among the various OCPs in a region.

    What is a primary growth area?

    A primary growth area is a large community that has all of the necessary services, infrastructure and amenities necessary to accommodate future growth. As a result, most new development will occur in these areas.

    What is a rural growth area?

    A rural growth area is:

    • an established rural settlement area that:
      • has a minimum of 200 lots or dwelling units;
      • has existing sewer and/or water infrastructure; and
      • has existing commercial, industrial, or park development

    OR 

    • an area where development has been pre-determined