Tofino Official Community Plan (OCP)

The District of Tofino’s "Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 1290, 2021" was adopted on March 9, 2021.

Official Community Plan FAQ

What is an Official Community Plan?

An Official Community Plan (OCP) is a document that sets out the high-level vision and policies for our community. The OCP is the primary tool that guides the future development of the community and serves as the foundation for all policies, regulations, and decisions about land use and development. It is a bylaw, and there are several legal and procedural requirements for how the OCP is written and updated.

In conjunction with other plans and bylaws, the OCP is used as a guiding policy document for development in Tofino.

How is an OCP created?

Municipalities in British Columbia have the authority to adopt an Official Community Plan through the Local Government Act. Legislation identifies the necessary components of these Plans, and establishes adoption procedures.

The previous OCP was updated in May 2013 after an extensive public engagement process. The OCP Implementation and Monitoring Committee directed the update process.

Beginning in 2018, the District of Tofino began a review of the OCP, with particular focus on the areas of Cox Bay and Industrial Way, and the new OCP was adopted on March 9, 2021.

Once complete, can an OCP be changed?

From time to time, Council will consider amendments to the OCP Bylaw which may result in changes to this document. Users of this document will need to assume responsibility for making the necessary inquiries regarding these changes.

For more information, contact the Community Sustainability Department.

Why do we have an OCP and what's in it?

All municipalities are expected to create and regularly update an OCP that reflects the community’s values and provides direction for meeting anticipated needs. The authority and requirements for an OCP can be found in Part 14, Division 4 of the Local Government Act which states that an OCP must include statements and map designations for the following:

  • the approximate location, amount, type and density of residential development required to meet anticipated housing needs over a period of at least 5 years;
  • the approximate location, amount and type of present and proposed commercial, industrial, institutional, agricultural, recreational and public utility land uses;
  • the approximate location and area of sand and gravel deposits that are suitable for future sand and gravel extraction;
  • restrictions on the use of land that is subject to hazardous conditions or that is environmentally sensitive to development;
  • the approximate location and phasing of any major road, sewer and water systems;
  • the approximate location and type of present and proposed public facilities, including schools, parks and waste treatment and disposal sites;
  • other matters that may, in respect of any plan, be required or authorized by the minister.

OCP’s must also include housing policies of the local government respecting affordable housing, rental housing and special needs housing and consider the most recent housing needs report undertaken by the municipality. Other musts include targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and policies and actions to achieve those targets.

An OCP may also include policies related to a community’s social needs and protection of the natural environment.

For more information on the OCP, contact Aaron Rogers, Manager of Community Sustainability, at or by phone 250-725-3229 ext. 701.

Community Feedback 

Over the summer of 2018 staff began working on a number of land use projects that helped to inform and guide the Official Community Plan; such as the Multi-Modal Transportation Plan, Cox Bay Area Plan, Industrial Lands Review, Flood Plain Mapping, and Coastal Risk Assessment. A number of events were held in Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the project, and gave community members the chance to gather information and provide feedback on the plan's community vision and guiding principles, as well as the community's expectations around growth. 

Phase 1 | Visioning + Setting Directions (Complete)

Visioning & Setting Directions (Summer/Fall 2018):  In Phase 1 of Tofino's Official Community Plan (OCP) Update process, community members were invited to participate in the OCP on the Streets, Beach Pop Up's, Community Hall Opening, and an online survey to share their vision for what they would like to see in the 2019 OCP.  We received over 250 responses from the community about priorities for the Official Community Plan.

Phase 2 | Background Research (Complete)

Background Research (Summer/Fall 2018):  In Phase 2 of Tofino's Official Community Plan (OCP) update process, community members were invited to participate in Plan-a-Palooza and an online survey to provide feedback on our Community Vision, Guiding Principles, and Growth Management.  

Phase 3 | Options + Trade-Offs - PART A (Complete)

Options & Trade-offs (Winter 2018/2019) 

The new OCP is intended to be a relatively simple land use plan of limited scope developed with consideration of real world constraints including water system capacity, housing affordability, and attention to natural hazards. It is not a work plan nor an aspirational document, it is a focused approach to development over a short to medium term timeframe (5-10 years). Projects and plans to support the goals of the OCP will be identified in Council strategic plans and the District’s financial plan. Community aspirations unrelated to land use are the focus of the integrated community sustainability plan (the V2A) which “…incorporates the vision and goals previously articulated by the community through existing plans, and synthesizes them into a set of common, clear, outcome-based goal statements for the community."

The new OCP is divided into three main parts which are further subdivided into twelve sections. Part A is the Plan Overview and includes three sections, the Introduction, Vision and Guiding Principles, and Context sections. This part describes the purpose of an OCP, outlines Tofino’s history, regional relationships, existing land base, and confirms community values. It concludes with specific direction about the type of growth that will be the focus of this OCP and growth targets for the next 5-10 years. Part A provides the framework and the basis for the policies that form Part B which in turn will influence land use decisions over the life of the OCP.

Phase 3 | Options + Trade-Offs - PART B (Complete)

The District held an open house on March 4th & 5th, 2020 to collect community feedback on the Part B draft. The purpose of this public consultation was to identify community priorities and flag any issues for consideration.

The most substantive changes in the Official Community Plan are found in Part B. While the OCP policies are instrumental in shaping the community they are not action plans, a project list, or a financial plan. The OCP does not obligate the District to any financial commitments. The policy of Part B expresses the intention of the community with respect to development and provides a framework from which to make long-term land use decisions.

The proposed polices of Part B were developed in consideration of the District’s water infrastructure, capacity, Reconciliation, the Vision to Action Integrated Community Sustainability Plan, and community consultation. The Community Development and Land Use sections are a synthesis of current policy, existing patterns of land development, and information gleaned from topic specific reports such as the MMTP, Industrial Way Land Use Analysis, and the Human-Wildlife Conflict Management Plan. Part B is where the “musts” and “mays” discussed in the OCP Overview section are addressed.

Information from this consultation period was used to refine and adjust Part B and inform the drafting of Part C of the Official Community Plan.

Phase 3 | Options + Trade-Offs - PART C (Complete)

PHASE 3 - PART C | Thank you for your feedback.

Part C is best described as the “implementation” piece of the OCP. It consists of four sections; Amenities (8.0), Temporary Use Permits (9.0), Development Approval Information Areas (10.0), and Monitoring (11.0). These sections address various land use development tools and outline the District’s approach to development.

8.0 Amenities

Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) are in-kind or cash contributions provided by property developers during the rezoning process. Tofino is primarily interested in amenities related to affordable housing, indoor recreation facilities, public art, and a waterfront walkway. This short section provides clarity for both the community and future developers in terms of the District’s expectations, and the underlying principles of “nexus” and “proportionality”. Section 8 of the proposed OCP provides the context for the District’s approach to amenity discussions and is intended to support existing District policy in this regard.

9.0 Temporary Use Permits

The Temporary Use Permit section includes updated conditions based on the Vision to Action Plan, the Multi-Modal Transportation Plan, and additional policies related to security.

10.0 Development Approval Information Areas

A Development Approval Information Area (DAIA) Bylaw provides a municipality with authority to require certain types of information prior to approving or authorizing a variety of development actions. The intent of such a bylaw is to ensure that Council and/or staff have the information they require to be able to judiciously consider and comment on development applications. Staff currently exercise this authority through section 9 of the Land Use and Development Procedures and Fee Bylaw in respect to potential impacts to the environment and community infrastructure (servicing) for Development Permits, Zoning Amendments and Temporary Use Permits. The current wording of the bylaw allows staff to exercise some discretion in terms of when an impact assessment may be required.

Staff are proposing to expand the range of the regulation to include potential impacts on transportation and parking; District infrastructure; public facilities including schools and parks; community services; and the natural environment. For the purposes of transparency, staff are recommending that the new regulations be within a standalone bylaw. This section of the bylaw is brief, describes what a DIAI Bylaw is and points a reader to the bylaw itself, which includes the detailed regulations.

11.0 Monitoring

The District included a monitoring and implementation section in the 2012 Official Community Plan as an appendix, which included two measures for tracking the community’s progress toward achieving the goals in the plan. The implementation piece was an “Action Plan” consisting of six actions. The actions and the current statuses are provided below.

Action Progress Comments
A tourism strategy should be conducted. Complete     Completed in 2014
Review the use of Development Cost Charges and/or an amenity/density bonus bylaw for new developments and subdivisions; In progress DCC review is in the planning stage, Amenity guidelines adopted in 2017.
The District shall support the work of the Volunteer Fire Department and will identify the location for a new Fire Hall that is consistent with new growth patterns and the fire protection needs of the community;


No action was taken with respect to this project.
MUP and pedestrian infrastructure should be extended through downtown and to waterfront areas Ongoing Ongoing sidewalk and MUP development over the past 8 years.
A storm water management plan should be completed; Incomplete Under construction
The District shall work cooperatively with the appropriate agencies and government bodies to ensure there are sufficient services and resources available, such as sufficient policing and hospital facilities, to meet the needs of the community at all times. Ongoing The District has been working closely over the past 5 years with the hospital and RCMP to understand their needs and capacity to meet community needs

Since the adoption of the 2012 OCP the District’s approach to long term planning has evolved into Council Strategic Plans and detailed five-year financial and capital planning.

The monitoring section highlighted a number of indicators to serve as a baseline from which to track progress within specific OCP sections. While this section identified indicators, it did not include supporting information such as what outcomes would indicate progress, or what to do if the indicators failed to indicate progress. This section is also quite broad and focused on many goals making it difficult to understand trends and to consider policy amendments.

The approach being proposed by staff for the 2020 OCP is to develop a more robust framework that includes specific indicators with associated data points that can be measured over time and that provide a clear understanding of our preferred outcomes. A monitoring framework will also be instituted and the indicators will be tied back to a group of specific policies so that adjustments can be made during the life of an OCP. Staff are also intending to develop a framework that connects District policies to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) program. Aligning Tofino’s OCP policies and objectives with the United Nations SDG framework standardizes the manner in which the District approaches sustainability and allows the District to contribute to the wider global conversation on sustainability.

The Monitoring section of the 2020 OCP will be similar to the approach applied to the DAIA section. The monitoring framework is intended to live outside of the Official Community Plan because once completed it will be largely an administrative process to manage. Development, monitoring and evaluation of the framework is expected to be undertaken by a third party. It is expected that the program will be supported by stable funding through the annual budgeting process.

Phase 5 | Finalizing the Plan (Complete)

OCP Drafts & Consultation:

The Official Community Plan has now been adopted. Read the bylaw here: District of Tofino Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 1290, 2021

The consultation and edit approach broke down the document into its key sections. Learn more about how we engaged with the community on our online Open House page ‘Talk Tofino’.

Thank you for your feedback!

Contact Us

Aaron Rodgers, Manager of Community Sustainability
(T) 250-725-3229 ext. 701
(F) 250-725-3775