Strategic Plan

The District continues to evolve in the twenty-two years since incorporation. Our processes and thinking respond to a changing legislative framework, and to changing internal and external considerations and expectations. The strategic priorities set out in this document guide actions for the District over the next four years and establish Council’s desired focus and outcomes over the term. One of the biggest changes is directly connecting the Strategic Plan to the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan thus completing the full integration of the ICSP, our highest level guidance document, into ongoing decision making.

The District’s 2015-2018 Strategic Priorities document responds to these changes by evolving from year to year planning, to a longer term, representing the newly established four year terms for Council. This enables longer term thinking toward strategic priority setting. Reviews will be conducted annually to ensure that changing circumstances can be addressed should that be desired. As well, the financial implications of this strategic decision making can be thoughtfully reviewed in conjunction to our annual financial planning process.
There are a number of overarching objectives that were identified during the strategic planning process. These include:
• Protecting Highlands Rural Values
• Reduction of Green House Gases
• Climate Change Adaptation and Resiliency,
• Public Health,
• Public Safety
• Environmental Protection
• Customizing and Implementing the Right to a Healthy Environment Resolution
• Improving Internal and External Communications

Over the years there has been a significant amount of work undertaken to prepare master planning and guidance documents. The Groundwater Protection Plan, Heritage Task Force Reports, Trails Planning Documents and others will be operationalized to inform the upcoming decisions.


Council has established an ambitious set of goals and will be working to ensure that thoughtful and consultative processes that both inform and engage, will be a prominent part of the steps that lead to decisions that could result from these priorities.

2015-2018 Strategic Priorities


  June

Prior Years Strategic Plan

The 2013 Strategic Plan document resulted from discussion that took place at Council's Strategic Planning Workshop held in December, 2012.  The 2012 document added graphics and links to existing District OCP and ICSP policies in order to transform the document from a simply listing of Strategic Priorities into a more comprehensive product that connects the OCP and ICSP visions to the actual Priority Areas and resultant tasks.

District of Highlands 2013 Strategic Priorities



District of Highlands Vision Statement

The Highlands is a primarily residential community, rural in nature, and blessed with an exceptional abundance of scenic beauty, native plant and animal life, and public parkland. Those of us who live here place high value on the natural environment and our rural lifestyle. Highlanders are actively involved in the community, which fosters a spirit that is both self-reliant and cooperative.

The Highlands will strive to diversify its economy while preserving our natural systems, including the aquifers on which we depend so heavily. Land use decisions will be guided by a community plan, with the ongoing involvement of residents.

As stewards of our unique natural environment, we will protect its integrity. We will retain sufficient lands in their natural state to permit a diversity of plant and animal life to flourish and to ensure that the rural lifestyle we enjoy today can be experienced by future generations. We believe in the value of open and green space, trail systems, and outdoor recreational opportunities, both to enhance life in the Highlands and to contribute to the well-being of southern Vancouver Island as a whole.

We will provide for an adequate tax base, including light industrial, related commercial and nature-related recreational uses in some areas of the Highlands, in order to support basic, affordable municipal services and facilities. We will encourage alternative transportation choices, housing choices, and a community hall.

New development in the Highlands will be in keeping with the rural character of the community and carefully designed to protect sensitive environmental conditions. The pace of change should be gradual and the type of development should leave a small footprint on the land.

In order to move toward a future that is consistent with the VISION STATEMENT, the District of Highlands will strive to attain the following six goals:

Goal 1
To protect the natural environment.
Goal 2
To retain and strengthen the rural character of the Highlands.
Goal 3
To support economic diversification that is consistent with Highlands’ rural character and the natural environment.
Goal 4
To ensure the long-term economic sustainability of the Highlands’ community.
Goal 5
To provide basic, affordable public services and facilities.
Goal 6
To encourage involvement in a healthy rural community, including all planning
decisions.