City of Duncan vision is to be one of the most liveable small towns in Canada


The City of Duncan has an area of 1 square kilometre and has very little vacant land. As such, infill and redevelopment is the predominant form of land development.

City of duncan - city hall (120 pixels)Consistent with the direction provided by the Cowichan Basin Water Management Plan, the City of Duncan in June 2007 adopted a new Official Community Plan (OCP) that establishes expectations for implementation of green infrastructure standards in conjunction with redevelopment and densification.


Community Vision

The community vision is to be one of the most liveable small towns in Canada. To provide a mind-map, the following extracts illustrate how the OCP describes what residents would like Duncan to become:

  • The City is green and takes pride in its sustainability practices: Streets are lined with trees, the River sparkles, commercial areas are well-landscaped, permeable surfaces have replaced pavement, community gardens are found throughout, natural areas are protected, clean air and water are vital community attributes, reduction, recycling and reuse are widely employed.

    City of duncan - totem poles (250 pixels)

  • The built environment is compact and attractive: The City exemplifies good design and smart well-managed growth. Neighbourhoods are well-maintained with a variety of housing choices, services, and activities for younger people, seniors, and families. Distinct neighbourhood centres are beginning to emerge with a mix of uses, wider and landscaped sidewalks, benches for seating, and good transit access.

Cheryl wirsz, city of duncan (180pixels)According to Cheryl Wirsz, the City's Director of Corporate Services, “The City approached the OCP review with a social responsibility to accept the density in the region because the City is fully serviced, this will help curb sprawl, and it will enable us to do our part to implement Smart Growth principles in a small town setting.”


Encouraging Innovation

“Adopted earlier this year, the OCP is providing direction and certainty for Council, residents and developers. Council is very forward-looking and wishes to encourage revitalization”, adds Wirsz, She notes that the take-away message on September City of duncan - 2007 ocp cover (180oixels)28 will be that the City is on the threshold of a new era, and the current Council is receptive to innovation that results from a new way of thinking about the form of community development.

An example of innovation is that the City is considering creating incentives for responsible development practices by developing an Incentives for Green Building Policy that exchanges developer investment in green technology for density bonusing, modified development standards or other appropriate mechanisms.

Consistent with the demand management goal in the Cowichan Basin Water Management Plan, the City has accepted the need to implement a universal metering program to achieve water use reduction objectives. The City has also embraced the need to integrate rainwater management and green infrastructure to achieve water sustainability objectives.


Showcasing Innovation Series

The Cowichan Valley Regional District, District of North Cowichan, and City of Duncan  will co-host the second event in a series of three events that comprise Showcasing Green Infrastructure Innovation on Vancouver Island: The 2007 Series. The Cowichan event will be on Friday, September 28. For complete information on the Cowichan program, please click here.


Posted August 2007