GRAND FORKS Official Community Plan

The 2022 update of the Official Community Plan was adopted by Council at the Regular Meeting held on July 11, 2022.

2022 OCP Bylaw 2089 as adopted

Quick Links

Grand Forks Official Community Plan FAQ

WWHR What We Heard Report June Engagement

Survey link: Survey closed

Background documents:

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 – 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:

OCP – Wrapping up June

Thank you for your support and enthusiasm during our first week of engagement in Grand Forks. We appreciate everyone who came out to share their ideas, but don’t worry if you missed us! This was only round one of engagement and the project’s introduction, and there will be more opportunities over the summer and fall to get involved.

We managed to get lots of meaningful feedback from the community and are seeing some key themes and ideas emerge, including:

  • More innovative housing options for everyone
  • Preservation of heritage, character, and trees
  • Community cohesion and togetherness!
  • Trail systems and an easier way to move around the city
  • Downtown vibe: create a community hub which is pedestrian friendly, offers a variety in services and stores, and supports local businesses

A quick reflection on our time in Grand Forks…

It is easy to say that our team became enamoured with your city and its beautiful landscape. One of our favourite things we learned about Grand Forks is how flat and bikeable it is, making it great for trails and active transportation. We took a tour through the various neighbourhoods and learned that the city is actually a combination of Grand Prairie and the City of Columbia, and that Market Avenue has great bones to be an amazing hub for the community. We saw the unique character of each neighbourhood, which reinforced the idea of approaching this OCP update with neighbourhood level planning in mind. Notable housing characteristics include generous setbacks, a stunning array of trees that line the streets, and front porches perfect for hot summer days. We noticed that single family units are the primary housing type, and that there are some affordable housing units, but that there is room for variety to improve options for everyone. Grand Forks is a city that is strongly influenced by existing natural systems – slopes, rivers, and wetlands help define the city’s character. We saw a rural agricultural mix and discovered an amazing learning garden made possible by passionate volunteers. We also rekindled our love for borscht!. But enough about our experience….
We are still looking for your feedback!

Stay tuned to the website for project updates or to fill out one of our Community Circles Kits. These kits are designed to get you thinking about your community, complete with an ideas and notes page and survey. Want to pick one up in person? Kits can be picked up and dropped off at City Hall or the library, or scan your kit and email it to us at We love to hear all your thoughts and ideas, and please share far and wide with your community. Once we receive feedback, we will compile the results into a What We Heard Report which we will share with the community. So, stay tuned!

We appreciate having kits returned by July 15.

Get involved with OCP!

Get involved with the OCP!

We have exciting news for citizens of Grand Forks! The City is officially launching the process to update its Official Community Plan (OCP). The OCP affects all of you! Whether you know it or not, the policies in the OCP guide how Grand Forks grows and functions at the highest level.

As we launch the Official Community Plan update, it is important to remember that this is a community led initiative. We want to make sure that you have an opportunity to have your say during this important process. Below we have outlined a few different ways to have your voice heard.

We are now launching our Community Circles Kits, an interactive booklet designed to allow community members to engage with the OCP update from the comfort of their home. The kits explain the background behind the OCP and the different pieces that make a complete community, and allow for feedback via debate questions, survey, and community mapping exercise. Our goal is to get these kits out to the community far and wide, so please share with your friends, family, colleagues, and networks!

Drop in to see us in June at several in-person engagement events. We will be engaging with the community and its members from June 14 – June 16. Join us at the following events:

  1. Farmer’s Market on Tuesday June 15 during the day
  2. Booth at Location TBD, watch for an update!
  3. Big Ideas Reveal @ City Park the evening of Wednesday June 16.

Don’t forget to bring your mask! We will be following Covid-19 safety protocols at all our events. Updates on our engagement schedule, including times and locations, can be found here.

We look forward to hearing all your innovative ideas!

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