GRAND FORKS Official Community Plan

Updates to the Official Community Plan Bylaw

The City is updating the Official Community Plan (OCP) and will be engaging citizens on many important topics over the coming months, including housing, tourism, downtown, flood mitigation, parks and trails, wayfinding, climate change, and land development.

Questions and/or comments can be sent by email to:


What is an Official Community Plan?

An Official Community Plan (OCP) is a long-term vision for a community. An OCP is the key plan for the future of the City of Grand Forks. An OCP is a series of policies and objectives that guide future decision-making of the City and has legal status as the highest-level plan in the City.

To learn more visit:

How does this affect my day-to-day life?

Housing choice and affordability, parks, trails, a vibrant downtown, and local jobs/economy are just some of the aspects of your everyday life that are influenced by the Official Community Plan (OCP). The OCP directs the City’s future investments in these important aspects of your community.

What key areas are the focus of this OCP update?

Four key topic areas were identified by Council for this OCP update.

  • Market district concept (a vibrant downtown core)
  • Housing
  • Form and character definitions and expectations (the look and design of buildings in your community)
  • Active transportation (walking, cycling, rolling) policies and objectives (e.g. trail networks)

The current OCP will also be streamlined for clarity and readability and reviewed to ensure that it aligns with the Zoning Bylaw and other City planning documents. In addition to updating the OCP, the City is taking on several other initiatives which will be rolling out in the following months. These other projects include:

  • Wayfinding Strategy,
  • Design Charette for the North Ruckle Area, and
  • Policy and Zoning Bylaw updates related to flood plain mitigation.

The community will be engaged on these important projects and topics in the coming months either alongside the OCP update or separately.

How can I get involved and stay updated on the OCP Update Project?

There will be numerous opportunities for public engagement throughout the project beginning in June 2021. Depending on the status of COVID-19, engagement opportunities will be carefully balanced between online platforms and in-person events.

If you would like to sign-up for project updates and upcoming events, please email or stay tuned on the City’s website and Facebook page.

Why is it important I get involved? How does my opinion get incorporated?

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to influence the future of Grand Forks! The OCP was last updated in 2011, 10 years ago, and it has since guided the decisions of the City. Now is the chance to influence the next 10-15 years.

The OCP project team will listen to all voices and ideas during the project. The team will then gather all feedback into a comprehensive understanding from citizens of the local values and priorities for the future of Grand Forks that will assist in guiding the policies in the OCP update. A publicly available What We Heard document will be available following each phase of public engagement. The team has the exciting challenge of bringing together a host of ideas, best practices and perspectives, including: community values and priorities, Council direction, staff direction, consultant team member expertise, and latest best practices in community planning.

Why does the City need to update its Official Community Plan?

The City’s current OCP was adopted in 2011. Since 2011 the City has changed, and it faces new opportunities and challenges. Today, a focused update on the current OCP is required to give a renewed vision for the City.

The City of Grand Forks Strategic Plan 2019 indicates that revising and updating the OCP based on emerging issues is a strategic priority. On August 31st, 2020, Council participated in a workshop which explored that strategic priority further. At that workshop, Council had the opportunity to consider important themes, and various approaches for updating the OCP.

Who will be leading the OCP and Zoning Bylaw project?

Graham Watt, Manager of Strategic Initiatives / Flood Recovery, is the municipal project lead. Following a competitive bid process, the City has contracted a highly qualified consultant team lead by MVH Urban Planning & Design. The consultant team has extensive experience working in similar sized BC municipalities and has completed numerous award-winning community planning projects. Learn more at:

OCP Engagement Session POSTPONED

·         Farmer’s Market @ Gyro Park on Tuesday September 21, 8 am – 1 pm

·         Downtown Walking Tour on Tuesday September 21, 12 – 1 pm.

o   Meet @ Farmer’s Market at 11:45 am

·         Open House @ City Park Solar Panels on Tuesday September 21, 5 – 7 pm

·         Business Luncheon on Market Ave. on Wednesday September 22, 12 – 2 pm.

o   Pre-registration required. This event is aimed at the business community, but anyone is welcome!


What We Heard Report

August 24, 2021

Our What We Heard Report, summarizing our June engagement, is now available. We want to thank the entire community for filling out the Community Circles Kits and survey, engaging with the Thought Exchange platform, and coming out to learn more at our in-person events.

The Community Circles Kits allowed us to get to know you better and learn where the priorities lie for the citizens of Grand Forks. We received a variety of feedback on key themes, and it is easy to see that community members in Grand Forks value having a tight-knit community rooted in nature. Being a smaller community, fostering a sense of connectedness where neighbours and local businesses can be friendly and supportive is critical.

The OCP team has been working on the draft OCP Update and we look forward to presenting this important document back to the community for further feedback. Stay tuned to your email and online for opportunities to give us feedback through an online survey, coming in September. We will also be back in Grand Forks the week of September 20th for our next round of in-person engagement. We look forward to seeing you then!

OCP – Thought Exchange

Are you a member of the business community in Grand Forks?


A big thanks to Community Futures for helping us launch an online discussion hub through Thought Exchange so you can share your ideas with our team and other members of the business community.

The question posed is “What is your top priority for the OCP Update, as it relates to businesses? Ideas could include a business retention and attraction strategy, downtown plan, or economic and development assistance. Policies could encourage businesses in the downtown core, or regulate development on the highway.” All of our voices matter, so your participation is crucial and valued.

Click here to participate:

You’ll be asked to respond to one open-ended question, consider and assign stars to some of the ideas shared by others (20 to 30 is ideal), and learn what’s important to the group.

Your thoughts and stars are confidential. You can come back as often as you’d like to participate and, in fact, we ask that you do come back to star some of the new ideas shared since you first participated. The ratings will help us understand the most important areas to focus on.

If you need technical help, please call ThoughtExchange at 1-800-361-9027 ext. 4 or email

Thank you in advance for your help and input. This forum will be open until July 15.

For more information on Thought Exchange, visit:

Get involved!

Contact Information

General Inquiries

City Contact

Graham Watt

Manager of Strategic Initiatives / Flood Recovery

Consultant Contact

MVH Urban Planning & Design

Michael von Hausen