The creation of the North Bench Neighbourhood Development Plan is now in full swing!
The City of Merritt is currently undertaking a Neighbourhood Development Plan for the North Bench area. This Plan will be developed over several phases in the coming years. In this first phase, the City of Merritt is looking to engage community members, neighbourhood residents, local First Nations and various stakeholders to help identify land uses and policies to guide future land management decisions for the North Bench area.
| Project Launch |
| Initial Findings |
August – October
Data Collection and Research
(June – July)
| Public Engagement |
September – October
Community-wide Engagement Event
(late September/early October)
Bench Sector Engagement Event
| NDP Report |
October – November
Planning & Development Services Manager
The City of Merritt’s Official Community Plan (OCP) identifies the North Bench as an area of future development and expansion. The Neighbourhood Development Plan aims to take a more detailed look into the various elements of a new neighbourhood in this area, including:
- Where new development will go;
- What services are needed;
- What types of land uses will be developed;
- Where green space, parks and trails should go; and
- How people will move around.
As these properties are currently Provincial Crown lands, this process will also assist the City of Merritt in securing tenure over these lands in order to facilitate potential future development.
Where is the North Bench Area?
The North Bench project area is comprised of four (4) undeveloped parcels of land directly north of Mountain Drive, in the City’s Bench Sector. The four parcels total 153 hectares (378 acres) and include the existing trail networks on the upper hillside as well as the flatter grassland areas in the south. The parcels are currently Provincial Crown Lands, however the City is in the process of obtaining a Crown land tenure in order to facilitate future development.
Why undertake a Neighbourhood Development Plan for these lands?
Undertaking a Neighbourhood Development Plan for the North Bench Area will help to:
- Obtain input and recommendations from residents, local First Nations and various stakeholders on how the land should be used moving forward;
- Determine infrastructure servicing requirements to enable new development;
- Better understand the development opportunities and constraints of the North Bench area;
- Provide greater clarity regarding future land uses on the lands; and
- Assist the City in obtaining a Provincial Crown land tenure.
It should be noted that this current planning process should be viewed as an initial phase of the North Bench Neighbourhood Plan and further analysis and engagement will be undertaken in subsequent phases.
What are the current plans for the North Bench area?
The City’s current Official Community Plan identifies the North Bench as an area of future development and expansion. Previous discussions on the future use of these lands have included.
- A mix of parkland, neighbourhood commercial, single family and medium density residential, as well as a potential elementary school in the southern portions of the subject area; and
- A disc golf course and continued use of hiking and biking trails in the northern portions of the site.
As part of this Neighbourhood Development Plan, the City of Merritt is looking to local residents, First Nations and various stakeholders to provide input and detailed guidance on the future use of the North Bench area.