Land use impacts how the District looks, feels and operates

Growth and change in the community can be managed effectively through policies related to the provision of infrastructure, services, and amenities and through the regulation of land use and development. Promoting compact, mixed-use, and high quality development will help protect our natural areas by reducing urban sprawl, eliminating unnecessary infrastructure spending, and fostering a convenient, walkable, and livable community. Two of the District's main land use regulations are the Official Community Plan and the Zoning Bylaw, which are described below. You can review the applicable zoning of properties in Sparwood by viewing our interactive map.

The District is updating its Zoning Bylaw.

The District of Sparwood is in the process of updating its Zoning Bylaw. This document sets out the rules and regulations respecting land uses within the community, such as setbacks, building size and property uses. The current Zoning Bylaw which was adopted in 1981 has seen many amendments without a comprehensive review. 

The purpose of this update is to modernize the bylaw, check-in with the community and business owners on any potential changes they may like to see, and to ensure consistency with the District’s Official Community Plan which was adopted in 2015.

The Zoning Bylaw Update is following three phases:

Phase 1: Orientation and Analysis Summary

  • Consultants meet with staff, get acquainted with the bylaw and Sparwood
  • Develop an engagement strategy and begin to implement it, including workshops and a survey
  • A builder and developer workshop was held on February 4th from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
  • A public workshop was held on Wednesday, February 6th from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
  • Survey was released on March 19, 2019 to get input on several topics
  • Online Engagement Survey Summary
  • Background and Alternatives Report

Phase 2: Draft Bylaw

  • Council to provide direction on the Background and Alternatives report
  • Our consultants will take all feedback and research they have compiled and develop a draft bylaw to replace the current bylaw
  • The draft bylaw will be reviewed by staff and Council for preliminary comments
  • The draft bylaw is targeted to be presented to Council at the September 17, 2019 Regular Meeting of Council

Phase 3: Bylaw Adoption

  • The draft bylaw will be released to the public for comment and feedback
  • Our consultants will take comments from the public and provide a summary of feedback received
  • Our consultants will revise the draft bylaw accordingly
  • A revised bylaw will be provided to staff for further review
  • The revised bylaw will be circulated to agencies for referral and legal review
  • The bylaw will be revised again with comments from referrals
  • The final bylaw will be brought to Council for consideration

For any questions or comments pertaining to the Zoning Bylaw or this project, please contact Planning at or 250-425-6271.

  • The Official Community Plan (OCP) is a comprehensive plan to guide future land use and address related needs for amenities, services, and infrastructure support. The OCP guides the Zoning Bylaw and other municipal bylaws, and guides Council as they consider development applications.

    Our Vision (excerpt from the OCP)

    In 2035, Sparwood will be a caring, neighbourly and sustainable community with pride in our natural environment. A unique and vibrant downtown will be the social, cultural and economic heart of our community, with opportunities to live, work, learn, shop, and play in close proximity. A diverse economy will provide a range of jobs and services to supplement the mining industry, which will continue to be our economic lifeblood. A diversity of housing options will allow residents with a range of ages, income levels and lifestyles to live comfortably in Sparwood through all stages of their lives. A world-class multi-purpose network of trails, parks, and recreational areas will support an active, healthy, and highly livable community. You can read the full Official Community Plan here

    Our Goals (excerpt from the OCP)

    To achieve this vision, Sparwood has set the following goals to guide implementation of this Official Community Plan (OCP). These goals provide the framework for the policies in Part II.

    1. Promote compact development and mixed use as the means to achieve a walkable community that provides efficient and sustainable infrastructure, minimizing negative impacts on the environment.
    2. Enhance the downtown by promoting high quality design and construction that reinforces Sparwood’s unique sense of place and become the social, cultural, and economic centre of the community with opportunities to live, work, learn, shop, and play.
    3. Support a diverse economy that provides a wide range of jobs and services to supplement the mining industry.
    4. Protect, manage and enhance rural, agricultural and forestry lands, balancing competing interests.
    5. Encourage, promote, and celebrate local heritage, culture, and arts.
    6. Encourage the provision of diverse housing options that allow residents with a range of ages, income levels, and lifestyles to live comfortably in the community through all stages of their lives.
    7. Support a healthy, safe and engaged community through social development, community services and civic engagement.
    8. Provide and manage infrastructure and services, including potable water, sewage, stormwater and roads in a cost effective and sustainable manner.
    9. Provide a safe and efficient multi-modal transportation system that balances vehicular traffic with active transportation.
    10. Encourage an active and healthy community through the development, maintenance, and enhancement of high-quality parks, passive and active recreational facilities and programs, and active transportation infrastructure.
    11. Promote environmental conservation best practices.
    12. Protect sand and gravel resource extraction areas in the community.
    13. Provide flexibility in land use to promote business development and diversification.
    Achieving our Vision and Goals (excerpt from the OCP)

    The following directions represent this OCP’s priorities and summarize the objectives and policies in Part II:

    • Focus and integrate compatible future development within Sparwood’s downtown area and existing developed and serviced areas;
    • Locate the majority of future offices within the downtown area;
    • Enhance the downtown as an economically and socially vibrant community centre that is pedestrian-friendly and accessible to all residents;
    • Encourage diverse housing options for current and future residents that accommodate a broad range of ages, income levels, and lifestyles; and,
    • Identify Sparwood’s key natural areas, including the riparian areas around the Elk River and local creeks, and protect them through policy, regulation, and enforcement.

  • The purpose of the Zoning Bylaw is to control the use of land in accordance with the OCP. This document sets out the rules and regulations respecting land uses within the community, such as setbacks, building size and property uses. Zoning is typically designed to create compatibility between different land uses. The Zoning Bylaw can be amended as a Council-led initiative, or by application.

Amending the Official Community Plan / Zoning Bylaw

Some projects require a change to the applicable land use regulations in the OCP or Zoning Bylaw. If your project requires an amendment to the OCP or Zoning Bylaw, please review the Development Application Procedures Bylaw, and then contact the District's Planning Department at 250-425-6271 or to discuss your project. You can also download the appropriate application form.