What is a RGS?

Grounded in legislation found in Part 13 of the Local Government Act, the Regional Growh Strategy (RGS) is a broad-level planning tool that operates at a regional scale, facilitating the coordination of values, priorities, policy and action across the south Okanagan over a 20 year period.

Fundamentally, the South Okanagan RGS asks participating local governments to look at their future holistically, aiming to "promote human settlement that is socially, economically and environmentally healthy and that makes efficient use of public facilities and services, land and other resources."

The RGS is not a land use plan, like a zoning bylaw. Rather, the RGS sets direction in an overarching policy framework that will be linked to local government Official Community Plans (OCP). In this way, the RGS not only guides growth over the long term, but also provides a framework for agreements on such issues as air and water quality, and major public infrastructure, between the various levels of government as well as between government and non-governmental organizations and citizen groups.

Guiding Principles

Part 25 of the Local Government Act sets out fourteen goals focused on sustainable community development towards which an RGS should work:

  1. avoiding urban sprawl and ensuring that development takes place where adequate facilities exist or can be provided in a timely, economic and efficient manner;
  2. settlement patterns that minimize the use of automobiles and encourage walking, bicycling and the efficient use of public transit;
  3. the efficient movement of goods and people while making effective use of transportation and utility corridors;
  4. protecting environmentally sensitive areas;
  5. maintaining the integrity of a secure and productive resource base, including the agricultural land reserve;
  6. economic development that supports the unique character of communities;
  7. reducing and preventing air, land and water pollution;
  8. adequate, affordable and appropriate housing;
  9. adequate inventories of suitable land and resources for future settlement;
  10. protecting the quality and quantity of ground water and surface water;
  11. settlement patterns that minimize the risks associated with natural hazards;
  12. preserving, creating and linking urban and rural open space including parks and recreation areas;
  13. planning for energy supply and promoting efficient use, conservation and alternative forms of energy;
  14. good stewardship of land, sites and structures with cultural heritage value.


Figure 1 - South Okanagan RGS Study Area

To view detailed Adobe PDF map, click here.

Legal Setting & Adoption Process

Part 13 of the Local Government Act regulates the content, development, adoption, implementation and ongoing monitoring of Regional Growth Strategies across the Province.

Link: South Okanagan RGS Adoption Process